Friday, January 31, 2014

Solving 2-step Equations (Alternate Method)

Blogging Challenge:  Day 14
Something you did in class...

Solving 2-step equations can be a tricky subject.  The idea of undoing, inverse, and solving for an X is above the heads of some students.  ("But yesterday you said X was 5????")

I talk about a lot of the typical things when teaching equations typically.  The balance of the equation, the equal sign means one side is equal to the other side, and we have to undo the operations to find the value of X.  

This year I even added a game "DragonBox" that teaches the basics in a game-like format.  The game overall, was somewhat successful but some students could not make the connection between the abstract math equations and the game.  Although I will say that when I was helping some students and had the following conversation more than once.

Student: "I am not sure what to do."
Me: "This X is like your Dragonbox."
Student: "Oh, so I do this and this?"
Me: "yep, good job."

However, some students could not get it down.  So I introduced this alternate method of solving equations.  It doesn't address the balance of the equation issue, but really focuses on the inverse operations idea.  I am not sure where I picked this up.

Many of the students who could not solve equations in the more traditional way, really picked up on this method.  They seem to enjoy and understand it more than any other way.  

What I am not sure about is the long term significance of using this method over other methods.  Time will tell...


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely use this alternate method with my Developmental Algebra students who struggle with solving two-step equations. I think it will be especially helpful for students who mistakenly change the sign when they "undo" multiplication/division. This method will help them focus more on the inverse operation.