Slope Dude Says

Last week, we got to play one of my favorite algebra games ever: Slope Dude Says.

Before playing the game, I had to make sure my students had been introduced to Slope Dude.

I told them that we were going to watch my most favorite math video in the whole world.

Some students had seen it before, but others hadn’t.

Here’s the link to the video on Youtube.  It’s only 2 minutes long, and I think it’s well worth your time.  It’s a newer version of the video with improved sound quality and captions.

The kids always groan and make fun of it, but I know that they truly love it deep down in their heart.  Honestly, I don’t really care what they think about the video.  I just know that it’s hard to forget the four types of slope after watching this!

After watching the video, I announced we were going to play a fun game.  I put up this slide with the rules.

It’s just like Simon Says, but kids are asked to make various slope motions.  I always demonstrate the different types of slope for my students so they know what to expect with the game.

I tell students to pretend they are looking at the graph as they make their motions.  When I’m judging them from the front of the room, their positive slopes look like negative slopes and vice versa.

Here is a class demonstrating the movements for you.

Positive Slope:

Negative Slope:

Zero Slope:

Undefined Slope:

The first round or two, it’s really easy to get students out.  All I have to do is start the game by saying “Positive Slope!”  Usually, a ton of kids will do it even though Slope Dude didn’t say.  

As we play more rounds, it gets harder and harder to get the kids out.   They ask for days afterward if they can play again.  That’s what I call a winning activity! 🙂  

One of my classroom aides was in my Algebra 1 class during my first year of teaching.  She even complained that her class never got to play it.  I love that I get to keep trying out new ideas every year.  I was once afraid that I would get bored teaching math all day long.  

It turns out that no two math lessons go the same.  And, no two years of teaching are the same.  It’s all new, all the time.  And, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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  1. We watched the slope dude video and played Slope Dude Says in Algebra 1 today. "Oh great. Now I'll be thinking puff, puff, positive the rest of the day." Mission accomplished.

  2. We watched this in Algebra I last year, but this year I added the game and my 8th graders who complain at least once every class period did not complain once today. #winning The best part was the introduction of "Slope Dude says positive, negative, positive, undefined, negative;" etc. They did all of the motions so quickly. Thanks for sharing this idea!

  3. As a pre-service teacher, I am very thankful to have been introduced to your blog! I am currently observing an Algebra I class this semester and we have been learning slope and systems of equations. Many of our students become confused when they are asked to solve for slope, so I think this activity could go a long way. I have seen images of "Mr. Slope Guy" before, but hadn't had the pleasure of being introduced to "Slope Dude" until visiting your blog. How cool!
    It's interesting because my mentor teacher prescribes to a similar activity: "slope yoga"–similar idea without the gaming aspect. While it seems to have helped some students master the concept, others remain less engaged. I'm wondering if it's due to a lack of friendly competition, since your students appear to be more engaged! I am curious though, have you found students ever disengaging due to a dislike of competition?
    Thanks again for the post. I really enjoyed it!

    1. My kids always seem to like a bit of competition. I think the length the competition lasts can make or break an activity, though.

  4. I used this and the Slope Dude foldable as a demo lesson when I applied for a teaching position. It was a win all around — I got the position and the students loved it. Specifically, one of them said, "I liked that we didn't just watch a video–we did something with it." Thank you Sarah!

  5. I used Slope Dude video with my Algebra class last year and later had a parent emailing me that the kids were talking about "puff puff" and that it was something totally inappropriate. (see urban dictionary). Since I teach at a Christian Academy this was slightly embarrassing. I really want to use the video with my class this year (a much tamer group) but I am a bit apprehensive!

  6. I've been using slope dude for years and never thought of this! Brilliant! Can't wait to try it tomorrow. 🙂

  7. So I played what I called "the most epic math video ever" today and played slope dude says. My 7th grade pre-algebra students LOVED it! Your blog is THE BEST math blog out there. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!

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