interactive notebooking, Solving Equations

Literal Equations -sad face

This is one lesson that students absolutely HATE.  I feel like this year was better than most, and I’m hoping it was the interactive notebooking process that helped.  Having said that, students still struggled, and I mean a lot, with rearranging equations.  I created my own resources for this lesson (WHAT???) and was pretty excited about teaching it.  it wasn’t until I was walking around as students were working in groups until I realized that the lesson had the same result (for some groups) as in previous years.  When solving an equation for y, students were “magically” eliminating the x by incorrectly combining like terms.  We will just keep practicing…

The notebook looked good though 🙂 and I did have some success.  It wasn’t a total failure.

2014-09-03 07.24.40 2014-09-03 07.24.48


The “Why do we solve literal equations” part is something I always talk about but I think putting it in writing helps.  Since students think this process is awful, they should at least know why we do it.

Screen Shot 1.4 iPad notes

Here are the goods, if you want them.

iPad Notes PDF

Literal Equations Flip Chart Word

Remember – get your free fonts so the Word document looks good.  This one uses orange juice, one of my favorite ( is the bomb!)


1 thought on “Literal Equations -sad face”

  1. I know this comes late, Mandi, and I’m wondering if you’ve resolved how to help students get these more readily. I don’t think the problem is that the student are struggling to master the steps. My take is that they aren’t seeing the patterns of equations they have learned to solve with relative ease in the mass of variables. They think this is brand new stuff. They can’t find a way in.,My approach would be to pair a literal equation with another of the same pattern but with only one variable. Put them side by side. Do step 1 in the version with numbers. Look at the literal equation beside it. What would be an equivalent 1st step? Do it. And so on back & forth until both have been solved. This will guide them to making the leap to seeing known patterns in unfamiliar contexts. Repeat this until they can give ‘words only’ solutions for literal equations. Also. I’d have them write reasons/explanations without any numbers as you’ve come to do in your 1 pagers.

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