Saturday, December 1, 2012

Standard Form of a Linear Equation

Last week, my Algebra 1 students worked with linear equations in both slope intercept form and standard form.  We practiced graphing equations in standard form by converting to slope intercept form and by graphing intercepts.  At first, my students did not like graphing intercepts.  However, after several problems, that became their method of choice.

Here are pictures of our Interactive Notebook entries over Standard Form.

On the right, I created a mini-booklet of sorts to help students organize their notes on standard form.  I wanted students to know exactly where to look for the steps in solving and where to find a completed example.

Here is a picture of our completed "book" after being glued in our composition notebooks.

Standard Form of a Linear Equation Notes Booklet (Outside)
On the inside of the booklet, we solved the same problem using both methods.

Standard Form of a Linear Equation Notes Booklet (Inside)
This note-taking template (or book or foldable or whatever you want to call it) is available as a PDF for your use.  Print it double-sided and have students glue the blank side into their notebooks.  I would suggest writing on it before gluing it in your notebook!  

On our left hand page, I created a cut and paste activity for my students to complete.  I chose a equation in standard form that I wanted them to practice converting to slope intercept form.  I printed each element in the original equation, new equation, and solving process in a square.  Students were supposed to cut out the pieces, form the equation projected on the Smart Board, and use the remaining pieces to convert the equation to slope intercept form.

I had several goals in doing this.  I knew some of my students would benefit from actually manipulating the pieces of the equation.  Students knew that they were supposed to use all of the pieces.  When students had leftover pieces, it led to some great conversations about common mistakes.  For example, some of my students hadn't been dividing EVERYTHING by the coefficient of y when getting y by itself.

The activity was actually really frustrating for me, though.  I had assumed we would be able to complete it the same day that we completed the above notes and practice problems.  However, we were running out of time, and I chose to give my students their sheet of practice problems in lieu of the cut and paste activity.  The next day, we did the cut and paste activity.  I thought this would take five or ten minutes.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.  We spent almost half a class period working on this.  The 20 pieces were time-consuming to cut out and even more time-consuming to glue in their notebooks.

Convert from Standard Form to Slope Intercept Form Cut and Paste Activity

I have uploaded the pieces for the cut and paste activity if you would like to use them.

In retrospect, this would have made a better stations activity than interactive notebook entry.  I think next time I teach this I will make up 5 or 6 equations, cut them out in pieces and put them in envelopes.  Students will circulate through the stations and manipulate the equations to convert them to the correct form.  This will focus my students on the solving process instead of the cutting and gluing.

And, this is what I love about blogging.  I considered not even sharing this activity since I found it to be ineffective in my classroom.  But, through this process of writing and reflecting, I have learned from my experience.

It may not have been the most effective use of time in my classroom, but it was not a waste of time.  The experience has made me a better teacher.  No, that is not true.  Reflecting on the experience has made me a better teacher.  Every lesson, every activity will not be a home run.  But, if I take the time to reflect on them and learn from them, I am doing my students the best service possible. 

I'll close this post with a picture of our completed notebook entry.

Standard Form of a Linear Equation Interactive Notebook Entry

1 comment:

  1. Loved that you shared these resources, your lesson, and reflections. We are working on that same unit. We did a thorough study of slope before beginning equations of lines. Then we worked through slope-intercept, point slope form, and standard form. We ended this week with transformations of lines. Students will be tested next week. But oh my - it does not bode well at this point! They struggle with solving for y; and they are struggling with graphing the lines. I'm looking for review activities - will consider your thoughts before finalizing my plans!