Math = Love: HOY VUX REDUX

Thursday, February 20, 2014


My Algebra 1 students just recently finished learning to graph horizontal and vertical lines.  For this, I used, as before, the mnemonic device - HOY VUX.  

H - Horizontal Line
0 - Zero Slope
Y - Graph Crosses the Y-Axis

V - Vertical Line
U - Undefined Slope
X - Graph Crosses the X-Axis

HOY VUX has always reminded me of those word puzzles that stand for a common phrase.  Like last year, I gave some of these to my students to figure out before we jumped into the math part of the day's lesson.  

Mind Over Matter
Surprisingly, my students weren't as familiar with these as I expected.  They also weren't quite as competitive as I had anticipated.

That's okay.  I know how to fix that.

Jolly Ranchers
Jolly Rancher Bribery.  First person to raise their hand and give the correct answer gets a jolly rancher.

Word Puzzle

Just when I thought my students were about to get the hang of these puzzles, I put up this one.

None of my Algebra 1 classes were able to figure it out.

One of my student's answer to this one made me laugh.  The answer is "Excuse Me."  However, one of my students interpreted it as "Execute Me."  

After going through about 7 or so more puzzles, I put up the letters HOY VUX.  I pretended it was a puzzle, and I waited to see what my students would make of it.  

In one class, students started arguing about what language it was written in.  Apparently, it must be a German word!  After listening to their debate for a little while, I told my students that I needed to apologize.  This wasn't actually a puzzle at all.  This would be our lesson for the day.  

Last year's HOYVUX foldable worked fine, but I knew I wanted to change it up somehow this year.  First, I'll show you last year's notebook page.  Then, I'll show you the changes I made for this year.   

Last Year's HOY VUX Foldable - Outside

Last Year's HOY VUX Foldable - Inside
I was inspired by Jan's post about HOY VUX at Equation Freak.  I loved how she had arranged her interactive notebook page so that the HOY notes were written horizontally and the VUX notes were written vertically.  I decided to take her layout and turn it into a foldable.  

This may not have been my brightest idea.  

First, I had students cut out the templates for their foldables.

HOY VUX Template
  Next, I showed students which lines to cut on to form their flaps.

I highlighted the cut-lines for you above.  Here's the picture I drew for my students on the SMART Board.

It's not pretty, but it got the job done.

HOY VUX Foldable
We labeled the outside flaps HOY and VUX.  The corner rectangle contains notes on when to use HOY and when to use VUX.

HOY VUX Foldable - Outside
Remember when I said this wasn't my brightest idea?  Oh, my students were plenty impressed with the fact that HOY was written horizontally and VUX was written vertically.  It was fun to see students realize the connection and remark, "I see what you did there!"  

But, they were more impressed with what our foldable reminded them of.  Can you see it?  Maybe this will help.

In all three sections of Algebra 1, I had at least one student exclaim to the class that we had just made a gun-shaped foldable.  They boys were soon holding their foldables up to one another and pretending to shoot each other.  "Look!  You even gave us a trigger!"  Yeah.  That was definitely NOT what I intended.  

Here are the inside of the notes:

HOY - Graphing Horizontal Lines Notes (Inside of Foldable)
VUX - Graphing Vertical Lines Notes (Inside of Foldable)
We also created a small poof booklet to practice graphing horizontal and vertical lines with.

Graphing Horizontal and Vertical Lines Poof Booklet
Inside, there are 6 equations for students to practice graphing.  Students are asked to identify if the equation falls into the category of HOY or VUX.  Then, they have to say which axis the graph will cross and where it will cross that axis.

Inside of Poof Booklet
The file for this booklet has been uploaded below.  If you want more information on how to fold this style of booklet, check out this post.  The instructions are written for assembling a booklet to practice finding slope and intercepts, but the steps will be the same.  

Here's a look at the completed page.

Completed Notebook Page
Other than the fact that my students think the foldable looks like a gun, I'm really liking the changes that I made to this page.  

Files have been uploaded below.  If you have trouble downloading the files, please e-mail me.  I will be happy to attach the files you need and send them to you.  


  1. Thank you so much for the revamp. We just made the the HOY VUX organizer that made you last year today! I am just starting with my notebooks this semester. We are on block scheduling. So trying to figure out what to do with the notebooks have been challenging.

  2. Also, I have several ESL students in one class. I had to share this with you. They told me that HOY meant today. I can't speak Spanish. It was interesting to me that they were trying to make connections.

  3. Sarah, I love the booklets that you created to practice the horizontal and vertical lines and slope intercept practice..I am going to use that booklet form somehow in my Pythagorean Theorem unit. I think this page looks great! Of course the kids would make a gun out of the foldable. I can see my kids doing that. Teaching is certainly never boring!

  4. Kids will make a gun out of just about anything. I remember my son went to a preschool that was very adamant about no toy weapons and peaceful play and all that, but the boys (it was almost always boys) made guns or lasers or something to shoot out of legos, or wooden blocks or Knex.

  5. I'm definitely going to use your poof booklet on...Tuesday! Great timing =).

    I'm going to do a post on my functions unit soon. In a similar thing to your "gun" issue...I personally love the "DIX ROY" but my students have some issues with the first I made it "DIXI ROYD" and added Independent Variable and Dependent variable to the end.

    A day in the life, right?

  6. HOY VUX (even your earlier version, which my coteacher and I just used) is so awesome. Grading quizzes on Friday, after using INBs for the first time, including your HOY VUX foldable, our students have a MUCH better grasp of vertical and horizontal lines. Thanks!

  7. I am a student and I came across your blog! We are working on a project about HOY and VUX and this definitely helped our group become very creative! Thanks!

  8. Haha my teacher used this too! Glad I found it, I forgot my HOY VUX paper at school!