13 Ideas for Teaching Systems of Equations

Systems of equations can be challenging for Algebra 1 students!  The first day of my solving systems by substitution lesson, I see so many heads explode.  I've developed some favorite ideas and resources over the years that I'd love to share with you!

These tips, activities, and foldables will help you teach systems equations to your algebra students.  There are activities for solving by graphing, substitution, and elimination.  The activities for word problems are great!

Here are my favorite tips and resources to help you through your systems of equations unit!  (in no particular order)

1 - Emoji Logic Puzzles - These logic puzzles are a fun way to get students solving systems without even realizing it!  They would also be fun warmups or as emergency sub plans during this unit.

2 - Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing Pennant - Solving systems by graphing is the best place to start the unit.  It helps students visualize solving algebraically and starts in their comfort zone.  This pennant is a fun way for students to practice!

3 - Review Literal Equations - Solving systems by substitution is very overwhelming for students at first.  However, I have found that if I review solving literal equations as a warmup before the lesson, things go a little bit better that day.  :)

4 - Systems of Equations Sum 'Em Activity: Word Problems - You better believe that I'm going to use a sum 'em to help students figure out systems of equations word problems!  Sum 'em activities get students working together and discussing math.  They are so easy to use, but keep students persistent and engaged the entire class period.  Word problems can be so difficult, so I absolutely use this activity to help students master them!

Systems of Equations Sum 'Em Word Problems Sum 'Em Activity

5 - Linear Systems Interactive Notebook Unit - If you want an entire interactive notebook unit for systems of equations, look no further.  This complete unit is ready to copy!

6 - Solving Systems of Equations Interactive Notes Activity - This set of notes is ready to go in an interactive notebook.  I like that it compares the different methods for solving systems and keeps the information organized in one place.

Solving Systems of Equations Interactive Notes Activity

7 - Systems of Equations INB Pages - These are the interactive notebook pages that I used last year!  The notes pages are a FREE download.

8 - Have Students Highlight the Variables - When teaching solving systems by elimination, have students "stack" the like terms and highlight them like the picture below.  My students struggle when the variables aren't lined up and this helps them remember to add and subtract the like terms.

9 - Systems of Equations Matching Game and Quiz - This FREE download is a fun matching game to give students practice solving systems.  Also, the quiz that's included could be used as an exit ticket or as an additional INB page.  So many uses!

10 - How Can You Win Every Prize at Chuck E. Cheese's? - This is a cool 3-act task that keeps students interest while introducing them to the topic.  To be successful, students need to be very comfortable graphing equations of lines.  Also, this would be a good introduction to systems of equations word problems.

11 - Solving Systems of Equations Puzzle - This hands-on puzzle gets students practicing elimination and substitution.  Since this is self-checking, students don't practice incorrectly - they must ask for help if they don't find their answer.

Solving Systems of Equations Puzzle

12 - Systems of Two Equations Task Cards - Sometimes you just need a good set of task cards.  This set of task cards is perfect for warmups or playing speed dating.  You can find some great ideas for using task cards here and here.

13 - Systems of Equations Word Problems Stations Maze - Students need LOTS of practice with word problems!  This stations maze gets students out of their seats and moving.  It also encourages students to check their work carefully since an incorrect answer will eventually send them back to a problem they have already solved.  Successfully completing the stations maze requires students to slow down and check their work.

I hope you have found something useful to use in your classroom this year!

Angle Pair Relationships Proofs INB Pages

I shared some of this last year, on my Beginning Proofs INB Pages post, but this year I did things a little differently.

I used this flapbook for the angle pair theorems and postulates.  This time, I had my students write out the theorems underneath the flaps and also write the shorthand they are allowed to use in proofs.  I leave my honors students a little more open-ended so that they have to fill in important information themselves.  I'm trying to help them learn how to be good notetakers.  I can't just turn them lose though, because most of them are freshmen!

This year, I added this page with two practice proofs.  It is now part of the exclusive content in my geometry foldable bundle.  I think it helped my students understand the proofs a little but better and I'm SO GLAD I had my students do the proof of the theorem.  I don't think I prove theorems enough in class and this was a good addition to the lesson.

I'm happy with the way this lesson has evolved over the years.  I think the Congruent Complements/Supplements Theorem are hard for students, but proving the theorem did help.  I think this is the best that I've taught it, and my students are comfortable with all of the theorems. 

Classroom Management: 3 Ways to Stay Calm and Consistent

I’ve heard over and over in my career that you can’t teach anything until you have a handle on classroom management.  If your kids are out of control, you cannot teach them anything.

There are multiple classroom management strategies out there.  You have to use whatever works for you.  HOWEVER, these three tips will work with whatever kind of classroom management system you already have in place.

3 Ways to Stay Calm and Consistent

Need classroom management ideas for middle or high school?  This strategy gives tips and techniques to help you keep your cool!

1 - Take deep breaths and relax your jaw.

If you aren’t in control of your emotions, the students will control them.  Before you react to anything, take a few deep breaths and relax your jaw.  Relaxing your jaw will help your whole body follow suit.  If you have trouble relaxing your jaw, put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth and move it back.  Your jaw will fall and relax naturally.

2 - Move slowly.

As the leader in the room, you must project calm.  Calm is slow.  Slow is strength.  Strength is control.  Take a few seconds to S-L-O-W-L-Y and deliberately turn toward disruptive students.  When your body goes into the fight/flight reflex you react quickly.  Slow and deliberate movements show control over your body.

3 - Don’t make rules you aren’t willing to enforce ALL THE TIME.

Consistency is key.  Don’t make rules you know you won’t enforce.  I’m very laid-back as a teacher.  I’ve decided what rules are important to me, and I let the rest go.  While this doesn’t work for everyone, I do not make rules that I know I will end up letting slide later.  This one was a game changer for me.  When I first started teaching, I had lots of rules and I wasn’t consistent about enforcing all of them.  It did not work out well.  Again, don’t make rules you aren’t willing to enforce ALL THE TIME.

How do you stay calm and consistent?  Comment below!

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