# Equal / Not equal

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Basics on the topic
**Equal / Not equal**

The **equal sign** can be found in any mathematical equation. It is important to understand what it means in order to be successful in mathematics. While you may be early on in your mathematical journey, be assured that the equal sign will follow you through your learning all the time!

If you're looking for resources to help your child or student with understanding the equal sign, you've come to the right place! We offer a variety of tools and tips to make understanding of the equal sign easy. Please read our educational text about the equal sign, refer to the video and apply your knowledge by using our maths worksheets.

## Equal or Not Equal? – Explanation

How can you know if two expressions are equal or not equal?

When two or more numbers, equations or calculations are **equal**, it means that they have the same value. When two or more numbers are **not equal** that means that they do not have the same value and one of them is either **bigger** than the other or **smaller** than the other.

We can use expressions and counting to help! When trying to figure out if two or more expressions are equal, follow the steps:

** 1. Start by solving the first expression**

We either add two addends together to find the sum or complete the subtraction calculation to find the solution of the first expression.

** 2. Solve the second expression **

Just like with the first equation, we either add two addends together to find the sum or complete the subtraction calculation to find the solution of the first expression.

You can do this using a variety of different strategies. You can use written or mental strategies to complete these mathematical equations.

** 3. Compare the answers**

Well done, you have reached the final step for figuring out if two calculations are equal or not. This step is very easy! If the sums are the same number, the expressions are equal! If not, they are **not equal**.

## Equal or Not Equal? – Guided Practice

Let’s practise finding if expressions are equal or not equal with the example below.

Take a look at the expressions on these boxes. Do you think that they are equal or not equal? Remember to solve each expression and compare the answers to see if they are equal or not equal. The equations here are 5 + 4 and 6 + 3. Let’s solve them!

5 + 4 equals **9** and 6 + 3 equals **9** as well. These expressions are **equal**!

Let’s try one more.

Do you think that the expressions above are equal or not equal? Don’t forget to solve the expressions and compare the answers!

The sum of 6 + 2 is **8** and the sum of 7 + 3 is **10**. So 6 + 2 **does not equal** 7 + 3. These expressions are *not* equal! How do you write the not equal symbol? The not equal symbol looks like **≠** . When you see the symbol **≠**, you need to say these numbers or equations are not equal, and by that you mean the sums are different.

## Equal and Not Equal – Summary

When trying to figure out if expressions are equal to or not equal to, remember to follow the steps:

Step # | What to Do |
---|---|

1 |
Solve the first expression |

2 |
Solve the second expression |

3 |
Compare the sums! If they are the same number, it is equal! |

Now you should be able to work out if sums and equations are equal or not equal. Feel free to watch the video explaining equal and not equal equations, or complete the worksheet on equal and not equal equations.

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Transcript
**Equal / Not equal**

Mr. Squeaks has just received a pile of boxes with new supplies! He's excited to start inventing with new tools, but first, he needs to organise them. To be safe, he needs to make sure that each shelf has an equal weight. Let's learn about equal and unequal equations to help Mr. Squeaks! Let's take a look at Mr. Squeaks' first boxes. The first box on his scales has the expression five plus four. The second box on his scales has the expression six plus three. We need to compare these two expressions to see if they are equal or unequal. First, we need to solve this expression. While there are different ways to solve additions, in this video we will count up. What is five plus four? Let's count, we need to count four more from five. Six, seven, eight, nine. Five plus four is nine. Next, we need to solve the second expression. What is six plus three? Let's count! Seven, eight, nine. Now we can compare the answer from each expression. If the answers are the same, the expressions are equal. If the answers are different, the expressions are unequal. Are the two expressions equal? Yes! These boxes are equal as they both total nine! Now Mr. Squeaks is weighing two bigger boxes! The first box has the expression eight plus two. The second box has the expression five plus five. So, we need to compare to see if eight plus two is equal to five plus five. First, solve each expression by counting. What is eight plus two? Let's count! Nine, ten. Next, solve the second expression. What is five plus five? Let's count! Six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Finally, compare the answers from the expressions. Are they the same number? Yes! These expressions are equal! They are both ten. Mr. Squeaks is weighing even more boxes! The first box has the expression six plus two. The second box has the expression seven plus three. First, solve each expression. What is six plus two? Try counting on your own. Six plus two is eight. Next, solve the second expression. What is seven plus three? Seven plus three is ten. Finally, compare the answers from the expressions. Are they the same number? No! These expressions are not equal. They are unequal. Before we see how Mr. Squeaks likes his new tools, let's review! Remember when working out whether expressions are equal or unequal, solve the first expression, then, solve the second expression. Finally, compare the answers from the expressions. If the answers are the same, the expressions are equal, if they are different, the expressions are Unequal. Now, let's see how Mr. Squeaks is doing! "Hmm, that's strange, why are my scales so off balance? Imani!"