Activities to Teach Students to Solve Systems of Linear Equations

Solving systems of linear equations can be a challenging concept for many students. However, there are many creative and interactive activities teachers can use to help their students master this skill. Here are a few ideas:

1. The Human Graph:

Assign each student in the class a different variable (e.g. x, y, z) and have them stand in a line representing the “number line.” Create two equations using the variables, and ask each student to move the number of steps according to the variable in the equation. For example, if the equation was 2x + 3y = 7, the student standing at the x position would move two steps to the right, and the y-position student would move three steps upwards. Students will start to see that the two equations intersect, which is the solution.

2. The Card Game:

Create a deck of cards with different linear equations. Divide the students into groups of two; each pair gets a deck of cards. Pairs take turns drawing a card and solving the equation together. The first pair to get all the correct answers wins the game.

3. Pick Your Poison:

In this activity, provide students with two equations with different variables, and have them decide which variable they’d like to eliminate. Once they have chosen, they must solve both equations. Students can then compare their solutions with other groups to check their work.

4. Battleship:

Create a board game similar to battleship, but instead of ships, students will hide their coefficients and constants on the grid. Students take turns guessing the location of the other player’s pieces and then must solve the equation contained in that location. For example, if a student guessed A3, the equation they must solve might be 2x + 3y = 7. The game continues until one player’s pieces have all been found.

5. Scavenger Hunt:

Place different equations around the room. Each equation will have the same solution hidden somewhere close by. Students must solve the given equation and then find the hidden answer. Once they have found all the answers, they can assemble them to reveal a secret message.

By incorporating these fun and engaging activities, teachers can create a positive learning environment where students can master this sometimes frustrating concept. With practice and perseverance, students can become confident and proficient at solving systems of linear equations.

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