Lesson: Cooperative-Group Mathematics Lesson



At the conclusion of this lesson, the student will be able to:

●      Write a linear equation, given various configurations of points, slopes and y-intercepts

Subject and ELL Standards

●      CA State Algebra Standard 7.0: Students verify that a point lies on a line, given an equation of the line. Students are able to derive linear equations by using the point-slope formula.

●      Strategy 5b: Use multiple media to support concepts.


●      LCD projector, with remote

●      OpenOffice presentation software

●      OpenOffice presentation files

●      Overhead projector

●      Transparencies

●      Whiteboard

●      Pull-down eraseable coordinate plane

Introduction (Anticipatory Set)

●      Post slope-intercept form on the board.  Query students in detail on what it means to answer a homework questions which prompt: “Write an equation in slope-intercept form.”  Students should recognize that they are filling in the missing numbers (m and b) and are retaining the variables x and y along with the organization of the equation.

Teacher Activities (Instruction)

●      Introduce “Making the Equation” game.

  1. Four “games”comprise complete set of activities. Fourth game is a culmination of the skills practiced in the three preceding games.
  2. There are three “hands” in each game.
  3. Each team gets a plastic bag containing 24 “resource cards”: colored pieces of paper containing the data needed to create a linear equation.  In the Yellow Game (yellow paper pieces), a resource card contains a slope and an ordered pair; in the Green Game, each resource card contains a slope and a y-intercept; in the Blue Game, each card contains two ordered pairs; in the Pink Game, the cards are a mixture of contents from the three preceding games.  (In this game, students must decide what to do with the resources and what form of a linear equation to start with.)
  4. In each hand, teams pick a resource card, write down the resources in the indicated area, write the template equation – either y = mx + b or y – y1 = m(x – x1) – and then substitute the resources and simplify if appropriate.
  5. At end of each hand, teams trade and grade.

●      Display instructions on LCD projector.  (See attached.)

●      Display sample homemade student worksheet on LCD projector.  (See attached.)

●      Demonstrate sample exercise on LCD projector.Guide students through folding two papers each into four sections: “taco” fold and then “taquito” fold.  Use this folded paper for the worksheets.

●      Guide students through each game.

Accommodations for ELL/SDAIE/Exceptional Learners

●      Use of LCD projector.

●      Use of white board.

●      Use of multiple colors of text on LCD presentation; use of multiple colors of marker on white board.

●      Speak slowly, clearly.

●      Use of gestures/expressions.

Student Performance

●      Students fold homemade worksheets.  Write heading info in top section of first page.

●      Students play one game at a time, selecting three resource cards and writing one equation each. After completing each game (three equations), students stop and await direction.

●      Each hand involves 1) copying resources from resource card to appropriate field on worksheet, 2) writing down template equation (either point-slope or slope-intercept), 3) substituting, and 4) simplifying.  Students box final answer.

●      Students trade papers with neighbor teams and grade each other’s work, using answers on overhead projector.


●      “Trade & Grade.”  (Teams trade with next-door teams and grade work.  Answers are displayed on overhead projector.)

Teacher Reflection

An exercise in frustration for all concerned.  Students used no initiative in deciphering instructions displayed on overhead and generally refused to hear instructions.  Teacher did not allow enough time for instruction, and did not manage time well enough to get through all four games. Teacher did not explain clearly enough that each student should maintain his/her own work, to be turned in and graded.

Many students believed they were done when they found a slope, failing to understand that finding the slope was the first step to substituting and simplifying the equation itself.  I have been working faithfully on the concepts of an equation (as a statement and as grammatical form which requires three parts), but the students are attracted less to abstract concepts than to procedural recipes.  I will continue to discuss this, probably through short-duration, high-frequency “equation? Or not?” drills.

Repeat the game later for better results.  (Students figured out the instructions through trial-and-error and dozens of redundant questions.)

On the plus side, most students were generally on-task, especially considering the distractability of the group in question.



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