Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Cherries Still Positive, Lemons Still Negative

Rita Williams


Designed to follow the lesson -Cherries are Positive, Lemons are Negative,- this is an introductory lesson on solving simple addition equations with positive and negative integers.


The student uses algebraic problem-solving strategies to solve real-world problems involving linear equations and inequalities.


-Lemon heads (if you don't want to use candy, small circles of red and yellow paper will work-use a hole punch)
-Cherry heads
-Paper plates (saucer size)
-Paper cups (very small)
-Aluminum foil
-Weighing Out Equations sheet (see attached file)
-Student activity sheets (see attached file)
-Rubric (see attached file)


1. Download and review the attached file. Make sure you understand the directions.
2. Make copies of the attached file for each student.
3. Find a definition for -variable.-
4. Gather materials. (Cherry heads and lemon heads can usually be found at dollar stores.)
5. Wrap 20 lemon heads and 20 cherry heads in aluminum foil for each pair of students.


NOTE: Students should have complete the lesson, -Cherries are Positive, Lemons are Negative,- prior to beginning this lesson. (See weblinks.)
1. Distribute the Weighing Out Equations sheet.

2. Give the definition and explanation of -variable.-

3. Facilitate a brief discussion on the purpose of scales. Then, tell how they relate to equations.

4. Distribute the student activity sheets and rubric to each student.

5. Introduce the activity. Include how it relates to the previous class discussion.

6. Briefly discuss the rubric and answer any questions.

7. Put students in pairs. Review your rules on how to be a cooperative worker. Encourage them to work cooperatively with each other throughout the activity. Remind them that they will be assessed on how they interact with each other.

8. Distribute 1 aluminum foil package of 20 cherry heads and 20 lemon heads, 2 paper plates, and 1 paper cup to each pair of students. Make sure they all have pencils.

9. Instruct them to complete the activity sheets. (The directions on the activity sheets are very detailed, so it is not necessary for you to walk them through the entire activity. Just be available for questions.)

10. Facilitate a discussion by asking students to share what the activity taught them about solving addition equations.


Each student will complete the attached student activity sheets. Activity sheets will be graded using the attached rubric. The rubric will only assess the student's use of algebraic problem-solving strategies to solve simple addition equations. It will not assess the entire benchmark.


Modification- Red and yellow construction paper can be used in place of cherry and lemon heads.
Extension-After this lesson, students are ready to learn the paper and pencil method of solving simple addition equations.

Web Links

Students should complete "Cherries Are Positive, Lemons Are Negative" prior to beginning this lesson.
Cherries Are Positive, Lemons Are Negative

Web supplement for Cherries Still Positive, Lemons Still Negative
Algebra Help

Attached Files

The Weighing Out Equations sheet, Student Activity Sheet, and rubric.     File Extension: pdf

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