To assist students in remember the difference, we talked about what each of the words mean. I asked for examples of what an identity was. We talked about being able to look in a mirror and see ourselves, exactly as we are. We related this to adding with zero and multiplying with one - the number doesn't change who it is.

For the Commutative Property, we discussed what the word 'commute' means. We looked up the definition in the dictionary and discovered that it meant to travel regularly back and forth. I gave the example of driving my car back and forth to work daily.

For the Associative Property, we discussed the word 'associate'. We again used the dictionary to find the definition of the word. It means to group together. I gave them examples of a team grouping together, or joining up with different groups of friends.

Finally, for the Distributive Property, we discussed the word 'distribute'. We looked up the word in the dictionary and discovered that it means to hand something out. I gave them examples of handing papers out, or 'distributing' papers.

To tie these examples into our properties, students found pictures of a mirror, a car, a team, and a hand, handing something out, to add to our journals.

[Math Properties] |

[Underneath the sticky notes] |