Identifying Parts of Expressions Lesson Plan


Looking for way to teach identifying the parts of an expression with 6th or 7th grade students?

Use this artistic, real-life lesson plan to teach your students about identifying parts of an algebraic and numerical expression. It covers coefficients, variables, constants, terms and operations. Students will learn material with artistic guided notes (interactive sketch notes), check for understanding, and practice with a doodle and color by number activity, and a maze activity.

It concludes with the real-life application of shopping cart subtotals, covering how expressions are used to total up the contents of the cart, calculate shipping, and more.

Get the Lesson Materials

Identifying Parts of an Expression Guided Notes with Doodles | Sketch Notes

Identifying Parts of an Expression Guided Notes with Doodles | Sketch Notes


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Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the parts of an expression (terms, coefficients, variables, and constants)

  • Understand how parts of an expression relate to real-life situations, such as online shopping carts

Note: This will cover breaking down an expression into parts, not writing or evaluating an expression. Check out my lesson plans for those!


Before this lesson, students should be familiar with:

  • Basic arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

  • Order of operations


Key Vocabulary

  • Expression

  • Term

  • Coefficient

  • Variable

  • Constant



  • As a hook, ask students how a shopping cart decides how much an order costs. Explain that parts of expressions are critical for powering this. Refer to the FAQs for ideas.

  • Use the guided notes to introduce the different parts of an expression, such as terms, coefficients, variables, and constants. Walk through the example expression on the second guided notes page together. Refer to the FAQs below for ideas on how to respond to common student questions.

Check for Understanding

  • Have students work through the problems on the “You Try!” check for understanding page, either collaboratively or independently.

  • Have students color the responses in the check for understanding section of the second page. Call on students to talk through their answers, potentially on the whiteboard or projector. Based on student responses, reteach concepts that students need extra help with.

  • Walk around and spot-check student answers on the check for understanding activity.

  • Based on student responses, reteach concepts that students need extra help with. If your class has a wide range of proficiency levels, you can pull out students for reteaching, and have more advanced students begin work on the practice exercises.


  • Have students work through the maze activity to identify the parts of different expressions. Walk around to answer student questions and offer guidance.

  • For fast finishers, have them work on the Doodle Math activity to reinforce their understanding of the parts of an expression.

Real-Life Application

  • Bring the class back together, and introduce the concept of calculating subtotals in a shopping cart. Explain how understanding the parts of an expression can help us understand how shopping carts work, and how expressions are used to calculate the total cost of items in a cart. Refer to the FAQs for more ideas on how to teach it!


Real-Life Application Project

Have students research and calculate the cost of an online shopping cart. They should select items from a real online store and add them to their cart. Once the items are added, students should calculate the cost of the items, any applicable taxes, and shipping fees. They should also identify the different parts of the expression used to calculate the total cost of the order.

As an alternative, have students create their own online store and determine the cost of items in their own shopping cart. They should create a list of items with prices and assign values to variables such as tax rates and shipping fees. Once they have created their own store and items, they should calculate the total cost of an order using the expression they have created.


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