I started the year with solving equations by using Katrina Newell's equation flip book. (I loved that this included infinite and no solutions as well as fractions and multi-step equations with variables on both sides!)
I used my new document camera to show them how to put it together and we used my mini staplers for the first time ever- it went pretty smoothly.
Next we followed up with an equation card sort.
This is the first time they've ever done a card sort (to my knowledge) so here's how I introduced it.
"Get out all of the pieces that have numbers on them."
"Can you tell which piece is the original problem? Since you all have different problems, what is a hint you could give to pick the original problem?" (It's the longest one.)
"Now can you put the piece with numbers on them in the order they are being solved?
"Now look at the pieces with words. The word Given should go next to the original problem. Now can you put the words in order of what's happening in the problem?"
Then I went around giving feedback and checking answers. Each group also had one extra step that didn't belong.
One bag had two subtraction property pieces and it did not sit well with them that you could do that twice in a row until I pointed to each step of the problem and ask how they get there from the line above.
Each group rotated until they had done all sorts.
Then we used dice to play this partner dice rolling activity from All Things Algebra.