Equations of Lines INB Pages

15 February 2017
I loved teaching Equations of Lines in Algebra 1 this year!  I have a million interactive notebook pages that I used in this unit, and today I’m going to share a few.

First, this page for writing equations in standard form was boring, but effective.  After the four examples, my students got it and we were able to move on.

Writing Equations of Lines in Standard Form Interactive Notebook Page

Then, we moved on to the point-slope form of a line.  I showed students how the point-slope form of a line is derived from the slope formula. I had students write this in their notebooks.  Most of mine color-coded theirs.

Point-Slope Form of a Line Interactive Notebook Page

I made a practice page with the steps to writing equations from two points.  

Writing Equations from Two Points Interactive Notebook Page

This next page was PURE GOLD.  I have no idea where I got this worksheet.  If you know where it’s from, let me know so that I can link it.  Each of the four problems gives different information.  I think I want to do the same worksheet next year, but expand it to include eight examples.  I’ll do one page with them, and they can repeat the same thing with different numbers.

Linear Equations Interactive Notebook Page

Graphing Horizontal and Vertical Lines

08 February 2017
In the past, I’ve always noticed that my Geometry and Algebra 2 students have HUGELY struggled with graphing horizontal and vertical lines.  I was determined to nail it in Algebra 1 this year, so that it wouldn’t be a problem for them in the future.

First, I put the graphs of several horizontal lines on the board.  I asked them “What would slope dude say?”  He would say “This is zero fun”, so I had my students write the equations of the lines in slope intercept form using zero slope.  This was pretty easy for them to grasp and they saw the patten quickly.  

Then, I put the graphs of some vertical lines on the board.  They were totally stumped.  They knew the slope was undefined, but they had no idea how to write that in an equation.  I drew several points on one line and asked them, “What does x equal here?”  “What about here?”  “What about here?”  Then, I wrote the equation of that one line.  After that, they quickly were able to write the equations of the rest of the lines.

After all of that discussion, I finally had my students take out their notebooks to take their notes.  I taught them the HOY VUX acronym and gave them the pink flap book.  Under each flap, they wrote what the letter stood for.  

HOY VUX Flapbook - Graphing Horizontal and Vertical Lines Interactive Notebook Idea for Algebra 1

Then, we folded a mini-book by Sarah from Math = Love (this whole lesson was heavily influenced by her).  Each page of the book has students graph a horizontal or vertical line.  Yes, it totally drives me nuts that I glued the flapbook in crooked.  I was in a hurry!

Graphing Horizontal and Vertical Lines Interactive Notebook Idea for Algebra 1


This lesson was short, and seemed simple when you look at their notebook.  However, they remember it!  We are finishing systems of equations now, and my students have not been struggling with horizontal and vertical lines at all.  This lesson is definitely a keeper.

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

29 January 2017

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

I know of a few different methods people use to teach factoring, but I’ve never been a fan of the “fancy” methods.  They just don’t work for me.  When I teach factoring, I actually teach the unit backwards.  I teach factoring by grouping, factoring trinomials when a≠1, factoring trinomials when a=1, then special cases.

I start with factoring by grouping, because once students can do that, factoring trinomials is easy.  I tend to spend an extra day teaching factoring by grouping.  When students have that down, I move on to factoring trinomials.  I prefer teaching when a≠1 first, because when a=1 is really just a special case.  If students can handle the “harder” version, there almost isn’t a need to teach the “easier” version.

So, this is how I teach factoring.  This is not revolutionary.  It is not new, or even interesting.  But it works, every time.  I've often heard this method called "splitting the middle".

First, I have students multiply the “a” value by the “c” value.

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics
Then, I tell them they are looking for two numbers that multiply to that value.  I have them make a list.

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

Only after that do I have them find the pair of numbers that adds to the “b” value.

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

Next, I have students split the middle and finish by factoring by grouping.  So, example student work for the example would look like this:

How I Teach Factoring Quadratics

I prefer to teach factoring this way because it doesn’t rely on tricks and it works every time.  Also, after this lesson, teaching a=1 is just a special case.

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