Would You Rather Listen to the Lesson?

This might be the greatest teaching tip you ever receive. Not just on Variables and Equations but as a Math Teacher!
Do not use letters the first time you introduce variables to your students and never use the same variable twice in different problems on the first day or two!
Let me explain, when you put letters on the board with a bunch of numbers your students see letters. Then you try to teach them they aren't letters they are variables. I am sure you can see the confusion already. Instead use things like shapes.
Here are my top 5 Images to use as Variables on the First Day you Teach them what a Variable is!
 Shapes: Square, Triangle, ect...
 Stick Figures (My Favorite)
 Fruit
 Animals
 Sports Balls: Basketball, Baseball, Football, ect...
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