Discovering Slope in 6th grade Math
I've never had the opportunity to teach in 6th grade slope before this year.
This year is a first for several topics, among which was graphing functions - we did this last week, by using function tables to generate points, and I mentioned positive and negative slopes in passing at that time.
In getting more specific about slope, I knew I didn't want to just tell the students about slope (and about y-intercept) - I wanted them to figure out how the equation of a line can help them understand aspects of the graph of the line. But, I didn't know quite what to do.
After some thought, here's what I decided to do:
I created a simple worksheet with four equations and their graphs.
1) I simply asked students to find relationships between the numbers (and symbols) in the equations and the graphs of the equations.
2) Then, I had them choose a partner to discuss their observations with, and to search for more ideas,
3) Next, I re-paired the students using popsicle sticks, to allow them to share more ideas. At this point, I wrote on the board:
4) We looked at the same lines graphed on the Smartboard, and we went through what the "m" tells us - we started with the fractional slopes and moved to the whole number slopes.
Slope Activity Evaluation
In all, the entire lesson took about 35 minutes. I was really happy with the students' perseverance (for the most part) in trying to find what I wanted them to find:)
I really enjoyed their "a-ha" moments!
One "mistake" I made in the equations was that both equations with negative slopes also had negative y-intercepts...this led some students to incorrect conclusions, so I changed that for next year. The fixed worksheet can be downloaded by selecting the button below, if you'd like to use it:)
Today's thinking about slope is my favorite kind of day:-)
How do you introduce slope to your 6th grade or middle school math students?
Resource for Teaching and Practicing Slope:
Since originally writing this post, I've created a Slope Notes Wheel to help teach students about slope. They love it:-) This wheel is great for students to keep in their notebooks as a reference!
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Hey there! I'm Ellie - here to share math fun, best practices, and engaging, challenging, easy-prep activities ideas!