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One Variable Inequalities Card Sort Activity

I created this one variable inequalities card sort activity for my Algebra 1 students to complete before we moved on to looking at two variable inequalities.

Students are given five number lines and five equations/inequalities to match up.

number line images.

I created the number lines for this card sorts using

inequality cards for one variable inequality card sort activity.

I printed the card sort on colored paper and laminated them before cutting them apart.


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

I wanted my students to be able to taste some success with this review card sort. I asked students to share strategies with the class that they used to match up the number lines and inequality statements.

One Variable Inequalities Card Sort Activity

Then, I decided to do something scary. I gave my students a two variable inequalities card sort and asked them to match two variable inequalities and graphs without having done any teaching regarding two-variable inequalities.

I wanted to see what my students could do without any input from me.  I was inspired to do this by my recent reading of Make It Stick.

make it stick book cover.

The book claims that trying to solve a problem before being shown a solution leads to better and deeper learning even if errors are made in that first attempt.  In the past, I’ve been a “how will they know how to do it if I don’t show them?” teacher.  But, I’m trying to change.  

I’m trying to challenge my students to think on their own.  Then, we will examine their solutions and talk through them.  I think my students will be more attentive when we do get to the note-taking stage of our lesson since they have already attempted a problem on their own.

More Activities for Teaching One Variable Inequalities


Monday 2nd of January 2023

Do you have a copy of the two step inequalities challenge you mention above?

Sarah Carter

Monday 2nd of January 2023

I just added a link to the blog post!

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