Super Math Teacher

The thoughts of a middle school math teacher

Linear Equations Matching activity

With the last few days before Christmas break being here, as well as the end of the semester, it gets difficult to keep students focused and engaged.  Using a group matching activity keeps students a bit more attentive.

These types of activities were definitely reinforcing communication among students, as well as helping to see who understood  how to change equations from one form to another.  Those who still weren’t sure about the different forms were struggling.  It also allowed students to move around and have some fun with their friends, all while working on a skill that is often difficult for many students.

This activity is a new one this year.  I have had had students match linear equations and graphs before, but not different forms of equations and the graphs.  This one uses standard form, slope intercept form and graphs.  In addition, students had to make note of the slope and the x and y intercepts.

By working in small groups, students were able to discuss possible matches.  Waling around the room, I was able to observe different strategies.  Some groups started with the graph and tried to make matches from there.  Others started with one form of the equation and tried to make matches.  Some filled in all of one form of the equation before starting.  Others chose to work with one equation and get all the blanks filled in before moving on.  I purposely let students decide the strategy that worked best for them.

Usually, I have students work in their set groups, but, I decided to let them choose groups.  My one word of caution, when they choose groups, is “Choose wisely.”  Just because you have the opportunity to work with your best friend does not always mean that is a good person to work with!  Most students actually followed this advice, although a few still worked with their friends, with varying degrees of success.

It was interesting to note how all students came up with some systematic approach t  to completing this task.  They are beginning to make connections among the different forms of linear equations.  When I do this in the future, I may add another set of cards that have the equation in point slope form, which only one of my students likes.  This could add another level of discussion to the class, and make for some interesting discoveries.

Here is the link to the actual document used.  I can’t take credit for this, as I found this somewhere, and then modified it to fit the needs of my students.


Leave a comment »

Break is almost here!

Wow…..where has the time gone?  It is now only a few days until the end of the semester, and the start of Winter break.  This year, for the first time since coming to Vietnam, I am actually leaving Vietnam for Christmas.  I am not going home (that will happen in June), but I am travelling to Europe….Spain and Portugal.  While I love having summer weather year round, I am looking forward to a change in climate.

Anyway…..back to class!

In Algebra, we have just started our linear equations unit.  I love this unit, because there are so many things you can do.  For my students, however, there are lots of little details to remember, and curiosities to satisfy.  For example, Why is the abbreviation for slope m?  In my class of 8th grade students, if I don’t know the answer, I reply “Just ‘cuz.”  That happens more frequently with some students than others.

This year, for the first time, I am teaching slope-intercept, point-slope, and standard forms simultaneously.  The students are actually catching on better this way.  They see the connections between the different forms and are starting to recognize that they equations are the same line.  Hopefully, this connection is still around when the create a map as the culminating activity of the unit.  In the meantime, we have worked through some stations activities to see the relationships, and taken notes through a foldable on the different forms.

The foldable is my way of helping students stay organized.  I couldn’t find an exact version of what I wanted, so I borrowed from several different ones on Pinterest to create the one I wanted.  While going through the Powerpoint, students were tasked with filling in the information that they needed.  This meant that each student had their own version of what they felt was important.  Not surprising, some students wrote very little (and they are not the strongest algebra students), while others filled theirs in AND had additional  notes in their notebooks.

This time of year, it seems that students always start to slack off.  I have noticed the slide over the last few weeks.  So today in class was the discussion of why there is homework, and what the expectations are.  In one class, only 6 of the 18 students completed their homework.  It was discouraging.  The discussion was necessary.  I think the discussion of becoming more independent learners and taking responsibility insured of making excuses hit home for many of them.  We shall see if there are any changes.

Only a few more days until break!


1 Comment »