This problem is meant for students developing their understanding of the distributive property in algebraic representations. A number trick is a series of calculations in which the person giving the directions always knows what number the players will end up with. When the students are asked to represent Step 3 in a different way, they will use the distributive property. When students use parentheses, the outside number is the number of groups. The expression inside the parentheses is what is in one group. When they write the expression without parentheses, they are saying how many total x tiles and total 1 tiles they have. Switching between these two representations gives a concrete, visual, and abstract expression of using the distributive property to group and ungroup terms in an expression.
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