Linear equations require lots of practice as the skill progresses to include more steps and increases in complexity. Any of these activities can be used from the basics of simplifying expressions to solving equations with variables on both sides.
Model by Using Algebra Tiles
Are you surprised I am starting with Algebra tiles? They are foundational for concrete understanding! You can learn more about using Algebra tiles in your classroom by grabbing our free Getting Started with Algebra Tiles guide, which can be found by checking out our post on Solving Equations. This Modeling Equations with Variables on Both Sides activity is a great way to practice solving equations with Algebra tiles. You just need some Algebra tiles (or your students can draw them!).
Put students into pairs and show an equation on the board. Have one student instruct the other on how to solve as the student listening writes each step and solution. Then, show a new equation and have students switch roles. This gives students a chance to teach and reinforce what they remember about linear equations. I love this activity because it is simple and it makes every student explain their thinking. You, as the teacher, can circulate listening to each pair.
Give students individual white boards and have them work in teams of 2-4. With one equation written on the board, the first person will solve step one. The second person will complete the second step in solving and the third will complete the next step. Keep rotating until the problem is solved and the last person checks the solution. Have groups hold up their boards when they are finished. If you want something like this, we have this Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides Round Table available!
After students have had time to practice, implement “Board Races.” Two students will come up to the board and race to solve an equation shown on the board. The person who solves it correctly first stays up at the board for the next equation with a new competitor. I like to have the students who aren’t at the board working the equations on notebook paper to help check the solutions. An element of competition makes repetitive practice more fun! For race type activities, I like to have teams compete (boys v. girls or one side of the room v. the other side of the room).
I love our digital activities! This linear equations set of digital activities includes simplifying expressions, solving one and two-step equations, solving multi-step equations, and equations with variables on both sides, making it the perfect review before a linear equations test.
What are some fun ways that students practice solving linear equations in your class? You can check out how to turn any worksheet into an activity which can easily be used for linear equations too!