If your child understands the true meaning of the equal sign, it will help her succeed in early math classes. And mastering the equal sign will also be invaluable when she moves forward to algebra and more abstract concepts.

Starting in first grade, your child should begin to recognize what the equal symbol represents. When working with your child, use the phrase “the same as” when describing the equal symbol. Help him to see each “side” of the equal sign using a balance beam to represent equal sides. For example:

Is this equation equal? To answer this question, your child needs to know if 6+6 is the same as 15-3.

Yes! If we solve both those simple equations, we see that 12 "is the same as" 12.

Using this visual and specific language with your child will help her to “see” the true meaning of the equal sign. Want more practice with the equal sign? This True/False printable is a great way to help your child master the concept.