24 January 2014

Strategies for Solving Linear Equations

Getting ALL of your students proficient at solving linear equations is the Holy Grail of any Algebra teacher. Just about every PLC team I've been on has attempted to re-tackle it as an (in-achievable?) SMART goal.

SMART goal setting season is upon us once again in these parts, and the early formative data from our Applied Math (after Geometry, before Algebra 2) students suggests that we MUST place an emphasis on solving equations with variables on both sides of the equation.

We're going to share the following strategies with our students:
  • have students draw line through equal sign
  • distribute first to eliminate “( )”
  • combine like terms on left, combine like terms on right
  • eliminate the smaller coefficient term
  • backwards order of operations
  • write answer as “variable = number”
  • write out algebraic steps/thinking in words
With Multiple Fractions:
  • multiply every part by least common multiple of the denominator

Common enough, I know. What I'm really sharing with you is the posters I made to put up in our classroom. If you're going to do something you're feeling a little deja vu over, the least you can do is apply some of your creative juices to change your attitude. :) I made these images at PicMonkey using a combination of textures and text, and just used the Microsoft Picture Viewer on our PCs at school to print them on a full 8.5x11 sheet.

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Thanks for sharing!