Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Solving Systems by Graphing - Section 4: Homework 5.3 and How to Do It


I think it's very important to start a unit on systems with problem solving.  Students have to see why this tool exists, and they can only get to that idea by seeing it in context.  On the other hand, there are all sorts of important algebra skills to practice during this unit, and old-fashioned practice of those skills will play a central role to the rest of this unit.  Now that we've spent nearly four classes with a focus primarily on problem solving, I can start to make the transition.

There are many benefits to starting the unit with problem solving.  As I've mentioned, it's helpful for students to see the context for why the tool exists.  Many of my students are inclined to express their distaste for word problems, and I'm trying to undo that.  A side benefit to all this is that when we do "finally" get to just practicing the algebra, kids are hungry for it.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard kids say, "finally, real math!" when they get a practice worksheet.  I don't get into it with kids about the definition of "real math" here.  But it's always amused me a bit at how, by starting with context and then moving toward practice, students express their excitement at having the opportunity to drill a few skills, so why not use that to my advantage?  At the very least, it makes the job of classroom management that much easier.

  Why start systems with problem solving? Glad you asked.
  Problem-based Approaches: Why start systems with problem solving? Glad you asked.
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Solving Systems by Graphing

Unit 9: Systems of Equations
Lesson 4 of 20

Objective: SWBAT solve a system of equations by graphing, and interpret the intersection of two graphs in terms of a context.

Big Idea: As students gain confidence in graphing - and interpreting the intersection points on - systems of equations, we continue to see how this skill relates to guess and check.

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u5 l4 key elements of a graph
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