Standard Form of a Linear Equation Cut and Paste Activity

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After my Algebra 1 students finished their standard form of a linear equation foldable, I created a standard form 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.  Whenever 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 foldable 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 standard form of a linear equation 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.

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.

Free Download of Standard Form of a Linear Equation Cut and Paste Activity

Standard Form of Linear Equation Cut and Paste Activity (PDF) (1285 downloads )

You might also want to download my Standard Form of a Linear Equation Foldable.