If you teach Pre-Algebra or Algebra, then I have a fun Christmas themed freebie for you today! One skill that is so important in early Algebra is graphing linear equations. I spent a lot of time as a teacher trying to help kids recognize that the graph is a picture of what the equation represents. It’s just another way to represent the information. So to help kids understand the connections between a table, an equation and the graph of a line requires lots of practice and experimenting. So today, day 10 of my “12 Days of Christmas” math series will provide just that: graphing practice!
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Graphing Linear Equations Practice:
The goal of this activity is not simply to graph lines. It is to help students make connections between the equation and the graph.
Between the slope and y-intercept and the graph.
And to challenge them to look at an equation and estimate what it will look like on a graph.
Christmas Graphing Challenge:
So how does it work?
Well, the purpose of each line is to help Santa “collect” the toys to pass out on Christmas Eve.
In order to “collect” a toy, one of the lines must cross through it.
So students must graph a line correctly in order to collect all the toys.
The first page of this download is simply graphing linear equations practice.
I did not specify how they must graph each line, but the equations are given in slope-intercept form.
It also includes a couple of constants, to help kids recognize the difference between vertical and horizontal lines.
This will provide a fun review if this is something your students are already familiar with. It’s also helpful that it is self checking, because if they graph one of the lines and it doesn’t pass through a toy, they’ve done something wrong.
Writing Linear Equations Challenge:
Once your kids are familiar with the format of this activity and have had a chance to review and practice graphing equations, you can challenge them to the second activity.
As I mentioned, my desire is not for students to simply go through the motions, but to understand what all the pieces of the equation mean.
So the second page is set up in a similar way, with a variety of toys on the graph.
The goal is still to help Santa “collect” all the toys, but there are no equations to graph.
Instead, they have to write their own equations. One equation per toy.
This will force kids to think about what the line will look like, and where it will fall on the graph. It will require problem solving as they find a line that exactly crosses through each toy.
I’ve left the instruction open-ended in terms of how kids should come up with their equations. However, I included a set of points at the bottom as a hint. These points represent each toy on the grid, and should be crossed in order to “collect” each toy.
They can also use the points to check their answers to verify that their line does in fact cross through the toy.
If you teach younger kids, you may want to let them use a calculator to test out equations and compare. They can then make changes to the equation and observe how it affects the graph.
More Christmas Algebra Games:
Looking for a variety of Christmas games & challenges in one download? The Christmas Algebra Collection includes these graphing pages, along with a variety of other games covering linear equations, graphing, evaluating expressions and more.
So I hope this simple, Christmas themed activity gets your kids thinking and making sense of linear equations in a new way!
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