Engage students in developing an understanding of algebraic expressions and equations in a real-world context.

In the digital interactive tool Launching Into Expressions and Equations, students will answer questions based on building knowledge and skills as an astronaut to carry out a mission to Mars or the International Space Station, highlighting the value of math in careers. Hints, as needed, provide support. The first module in the tool covers variables (geared towards grades 6–7), and the second module covers scientific notation (geared to grade 8). At your discretion, the modules can also be used sequentially for either reinforcement or extra challenge.

The printable worksheets are thematically linked to the theme of exploration, following a biologist swimming the length of the Amazon River and using variables and scientific notation for observation and planning.


In Exploring Variables, students will:

  • Write algebraic expressions and equations to represent real-world situations
  • Solve algebraic equations given the value of a variable
  • Solve expressions and equations containing positive and negative rational numbers

In this lesson, students will explore variables—including writing and solving expressions and equations—through an interactive digital tool about space exploration and printable worksheets about the Amazon River. 

In Exploring Scientific Notation, students will:

  • Convert between different units of measure
  • Express very large or very small numbers in scientific notation
  • Compare very large or very small numbers using scientific notation
  • Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation

In this lesson, students will explore solving problems with scientific notation through an interactive digital tool about space exploration and a printable worksheet about the Amazon River. 

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