The subject of systems of linear equations is very intimidating to most students. Especially if they have struggled to solve a single equation! It doesn’t have to be scary though. I would introduce systems of equations with simple and fun puzzle challenges to ease kids in.
System of Equations Activity:
To help show my students that systems of equations are not all that scary, and actually quite doable, I would start by giving them a “puzzle” to solve, like this one:
I do not say anything about writing equations, solving a system of equations, or anything like that. I simply announce that I have a challenge for them, and the first to correctly solve it wins a prize (or a high five, or bragging rights, etc. haha!).
Most students eventually recognize that the key to the puzzle above is to solve for the donut first (because you have three of the same kind-you can divide the cost by 3) and then plug that into the row with just a donut and ice cream, and then use those two solutions to find the cupcake.
While this can be a fun way to make a system of equations “not so scary” for Algebra students, these puzzles could be used with younger mathematicians as well!
This is a great way to get middle schoolers thinking algebraically and using logic and problem solving skills. These could also be fun challenges for early finishers, or gifted students who enjoy a challenge.
This free download includes 5 puzzles. Three are “easy” and include a “starting row,” while two are harder, but can be solved, especially if you have older students who can write some equations to represent the rows in the puzzle. An answer key is included for each puzzle.
Want more engaging system of equations lessons? This mini systems of equations unit includes puzzles like these, guided notes, practice and more to help kids make sense of systems.
Good luck and have fun problem solving!
Find more resources for systems of equation here:
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