Posted by: rdkpickle | 11.13.2014

mediocre classroom action

As promised:

Today we wrapped a nice review of solving systems of equations. The 8th grade math curriculum has students spending quite a bit of time solving systems of equations, especially at the feeder middle school, where the teachers are very talented and the students are primed for algebraic concepts. This week, we spent Monday talking solving systems graphically (by hand and on the calculator), Tuesday solving by substitution (my favorite), and Wednesday solving using elimination.

Things that make me happy: students know their strengths and weaknesses. They have preferences re: solving systems, and they are willing to talk about them. They understand the pros and cons of the different methods. They can use mathematical language to describe these. This is good.

Today we: had a bellwork problem (#tbt – throwback Thursday – about writing the equation of a line perpendicular to a given line through a point.)


Had to check HW. I stamp if students complete on time, project the answers (fully worked by me) under the document camera, and students are supposed to check in pen and self-score, correcting any mistakes. We watched the (so great the lyrics are perfect!) “All I Do is Solve” song parody to recap the three methods.

I rearranged the desks with students in groups of 3. 1 paper per group. Discuss, record strengths and weaknesses of each method. Passed out individual copies and collected group work to throw under projector. Some great responses from students!

systems 12

systems 11 systems 10

systems 9

systems 8

systems 7

systems 6
systems 4

systems 2

systems 1

systems 3

(I only included this last one because they put under “graphing on the calculator” – “expensive” and Desmos is out to change all that.)

Afterwards, time spent practicing writing equations and solving systems for some (usually quite contrived) word problems. It’s a good day in my classroom when I talk A LITTLE and my students talk A LOT. That happened today, and while it mostly felt like lip-service because many of these skills were touched upon or even mastered in 8th grade math, it was a good day.

Quiz tomorrow. Inequalities in 2 variables next week. (New for all. On deck: Mathalicious Datelines. Duh.) A fairly typical day. Mediocre. Solid. I came home tired, ready for Friday and the coming weekend.



  1. Some additional systems of linear equations problems:

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