Getting Started 
Misconception/Error The student does not understand what an expression is. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student:
 Writes an equation.
 Attempts to substitute values for variables and simplifies or solves.

Questions Eliciting Thinking What is the difference between an expression and an equation?
What does the equal sign mean?
What is a variable? 
Instructional Implications Review the meaning of variable, expression, and equation. Make explicit the difference between an expression and an equation; equate it to the difference between a phrase and a complete sentence. Assist the student in devising verbal translations of a variety of expressions. For example, 5g + 3 can be translated as “three more than the product of five and g.” Provide verbal translations of equations so that the student can see and hear the difference. Emphasize the meaning of the equal sign and explain that an expression does not contain one. Given a list of expressions and equations, have the student identify examples of each. Then provide more opportunities for the student to translate verbal descriptions into expressions and equations.
Note: Address vocabulary as needed or refer to the Instructional Implications for a Moving Forward student.
Help the student understand that variable expressions can be evaluated only if the variable is assigned a value and that equations can be solved but not expressions.
Consider implementing CPALMS Lesson Plan Let’s Translate (ID 55214). 
Moving Forward 
Misconception/Error The student writes an incorrect expression. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student:
 Uses the wrong operation symbol.
 Uses a “less than” symbol rather than the symbol for subtraction (in #2).
 Omits significant parts of expressions.

Questions Eliciting Thinking What operation is suggested by the word product (quotient, sum, or difference)?
What operation is indicated by the phrase fewer than (or more than)?
Does the order in which you subtract (add, multiply, or divide) numbers matter? How do you know from which number to subtract?
How did you represent the product of three and y (or the sum of m and 13) in this expression? 
Instructional Implications Review vocabulary associated with various mathematical operations. Have the student make a chart or table of vocabulary that suggests operations and examples of each. Provide the student with opportunities to practice writing numerical expressions from verbal descriptions and then variable expressions from verbal descriptions. Consider changing the descriptions in this task and implementing it again to assess further instructional needs of the student.
If needed, provide instruction on determining the order of the terms in an expression. Explain why the Commutative Property holds for addition and multiplication but not for subtraction and division. Show the student that 12 – 10 is not the same as 10 – 12. Likewise, help the student understand that “five minus y” is not the same as “five fewer than y.” Model “five minus some number y” and “five fewer than y” by substituting a value for the variable. Provide similar expressions and examples relating to division. Assist the student in understanding the connection between the wording and the order in which the expression should be written.
Consider implementing CPALMS Lesson Plan Expressions, Phrases and Word Problems, Oh My! (ID 47911). 
Almost There 
Misconception/Error The student makes a minor error in an expression. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student:
 Uses an “x” to represent the multiplication operation in a variable expression by writing 3 x y  7 for “seven fewer than the product of three and y.”
 Writes the subtraction in #2 in the wrong order.
 Omits the parentheses by writing 5m + 13 for “five times the sum of m and 13.”

Questions Eliciting Thinking What does the x stand for in your expression? What does the y stand for in your expression? How can you tell the difference between the variable x and the multiplication symbol x? Can you rewrite the expression without using the multiplication symbol x?
What is “seven fewer than 10”? In what order did you subtract to determine this?
Does the phrase say “five times m” or “five times the sum…?” How will you know whether to use parentheses or not? 
Instructional Implications Review the definition of a variable and point out the commonly used variable x. Make explicit the difference between the variable x and the multiplication symbol ×. Discuss the purpose of each. Transition the student to using the conventions of algebra to show multiplication.
If needed, provide instruction on the meaning of phrases such as “seven fewer than” and the implications for the order of subtraction. Explain why the Commutative Property holds for addition and multiplication but not for subtraction and division. Show the student that 12 – 10 is not the same as 10 – 12. Likewise, help the student understand that “five minus y” is not the same as “five fewer than y.” Model “five minus some number y” and “five fewer than y” by substituting a value for the variable. Provide similar expressions and examples relating to division.
Model the difference between 5m + 13 and 5(m + 13), verbally and visually. Explain how the order is affected by the parentheses. Make explicit the difference between multiplying the variable m by five and multiplying the sum of m and 13 by five. Substitute a value for m and demonstrate the difference between the expressions. 
Got It 
Misconception/Error The student provides complete and correct responses to all components of the task. 
Examples of Student Work at this Level The student writes:
 or for “nine plus the quotient of w and four.”
 3y  7 for “seven fewer than the product of three and y.”
 5(m + 13) for “five times the sum of m and 13.”

Questions Eliciting Thinking Is the same as ? Why or why not? Is the same as ? Why or why not?
Is 3y  7 the same as 7  3y? Why or why not?
Is 5(m + 13) the same as 5m + 13? Why or why not? 
Instructional Implications Challenge the student to write verbal descriptions that can be translated into variable expressions and present them to a Moving Forward partner. Have the Moving Forward partner write the variable expressions and ask the Got It partner to check them.
Introduce the student to additional vocabulary associated with expressions such as term, coefficient, and constant. Ask the student to identify the terms, coefficients, and constants in expressions such as 3y + 7 or m – 8.
Consider implementing MFAS task Parts of Expressions (6.EE.1.2). 