Systems of equations was always one of my favorite units to teach because of the opportunity for real world applications. But it can also by incredibly challenging because of all of the algebraic solving used in each and every problem. Here I’ve compiled a list of 8 of my top classroom tips and activities for teaching systems of linear equations to help your students who struggle with mathematics and students with learning disabilities in math.
1. Know and wonder
Know and wonder, also called notice and wonder, is the perfect math discourse activity to use as a math warm up or math activity. It is the best word problem solving strategy I’ve ever used in my secondary math class and makes word problems accessible for each and every one of your students. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has a wealth of information on the strategy on their website. If you want a done for you set of 4 Know and Wonder prompts specific to solving systems of linear equations word problems, check out these Know and Wonder Prompts for Systems of Equations Word Problems.
2. Desmos Online Graphing Calculator
Encourage your students to use the Desmos graphing calculator to solve by graphing or to check their answers after using elimination or substitution method. The calculator will save you lots of classroom time and it’s easy (and free) for students to use on chromebooks, tablets, or phones (there’s an app for that!)
3. Desmos Activities
Did you know Desmos is more than just a graphing calculator? If you’re new to the incredible Desmos teaching activities, check out my post, Desmos for Beginners: Favorite 5 Features (a video guide). My favorite Desmos systems of equations activity is the Linear Systems Card Sort. What a great way to get students thinking critically about mathematics!
4. Math Tasks
Systems of equations are arguably the most “real world” math students will do in our classrooms with applications from comparing phone plans to gym memberships. If you’re looking to bring more tasks into your classroom, check out the free lessons over at the Mathematics Assessment Project. My favorite systems of equations task lesson to do with my students is Comparing Value for Money: Baseball Jerseys.
5. Matching Activities
If you are teaching students with learning disabilities in math or students who struggle with math, you’re likely on the lookout for any kinesthetic learning opportunity you can find! Systems of equations have endless possibilities as a cut and paste matching activity or cut and paste matching worksheet. If you want a done for you matching activity, check out this Solving Systems of Equations By Graphing Matching Activity.
3. Digital Drag and Drop
If you love matching activities, but you’re going digital, the drag and drop activity is perfect! Learn how to create your own digital drag and drop activities from my colleague, Asia, aka “The Sassy Math Teacher” with her free guide. Or you can check out this made for you System of Equations With Graphing Activity Digital Drag and Drop Activity
7. Solving Systems of Equations By Substitution Tips
Substitution method can get very mentally challenging for students who struggle with mathematics or have a learning disability in math. This blog post from my colleague Robin titled, How to Teach Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution, is full of useful tips (with pictures from her math classroom!)
8. Scavenger Hunts
I LOVE scavenger hunts! They get students up and moving in you’re in person, and if you’re virtual I love how it’s just one problem to focus on at a time (my free guide: 10 Math Intervention Strategies has more great tips like that one). Check out this made for you Solving Systems of Equations By Substitution Scavenger Hunt with built in math accommodations and options to limit students math anxiety in digital (using google forms) or printable.
I hope you found this guide helpful! Tell me what you thought over on Instagram!