Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Inequalities Ideas


My students had such a good handle on equations that Inequalities was pretty much a breeze. I started with the discussion of the prefix in- , which most of my students could tell me meant not, and how these problems would not have an equals sign. I talked about how they would have a whole solution set instead.


We started with this foldable, a freebie in my TPT store! It was easily the most referenced notes in this unit. I loved watching the students flip back and look at it as we worked through the unit. We did a few notes about how to write a inequality from a number line and vice versa. Several students pointed out the trick about the inequality being an arrow showing where to shade, and I asked then if there was a difference between x>1 and 1>x, since both arrows points the same way. I told them that instead of memorizing a trick, they should think about which direction would make the inequality true or test a number to figure out how to shade. Nix the Tricks, boys and girls, and make math make sense! Every since time I graphed an inequality (and it was a lot over five sections of Algebra for four class periods), I talked through how to figure out which direction to shade an never once did I mention this trick, so hopefully they forgot it ;)

Day 2 we started off with some simple inequalities word problems - I love starting with word problems, and I have found that this year my students are not so afraid of them because we have been tackling word problems since day one. We also have fun using highlighters to pick out key words from the problems. I then introduced the key difference between inequalities and equations - if you divide by a negative, you flip the inequality symbol. We talked about why and then did some examples in "To Flip or Not To Flip." I liked these examples because my students often overgeneralize and just assume that if the problem involves a negative number, they flip the sign. These examples helped them to see when to flip and when not to flip.


For classwork, we did this matching activity by Amazing Mathematics that I loved! You start with a word problem and then match it to the inequality (I saw a lot of students using their foldables for this), then solve it, then graph it.

The students were a little overwhelmed at first, but they worked together to conquer. I told them everyone doesn't have to work out every problem, but you all have to agree on the work. This lead to some great discussions when someone had an answer that a group member wanted. This was a great activity with awesome discussions, teamwork and inequalities practice.

The next day we took on some Multi-Step Inequalities, including special solutions. Students practiced with this Tarsia Puzzle.

I love these collaborative puzzles for practice, especially for something like this where students can easily make little errors. When they don't find their answer, they are forced to re-examine their work or possibly the work of their peer - I hear such great discussions from this, that I never hear when students are working on a worksheet or textbook problems.

When they finished, they started on this coloring activity that they finished up for homework. It also helped them to study for their quiz, which was today. From what I have graded so far, they did really well. After the quiz, I had my best lesson yet on compound inequalities. I really wanted to focus on preparing them for writing compound inequalities for domain and range. We did this problem, from Algebra Nation, with an answer bank. Giving students an answer bank really helped them to break down this task and think about how to represent situations with compound inequalities.

Then I did this activity, which may be one of my favorite things yet. They graph compound inequalities from parking signs based on when cars CAN park.
 I loved how this made a concept that is usually tricky for my students into something relevant and fun. Speaking of fun, on to "fun"-ctions next! 

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