I worked on graphing inequalities with my students earlier this year and they have a very difficult time determine which side to shade. The idea of a test point makes many of them groan because of two different reasons:
- It requires extra work
- When substituting numbers, they sometimes get confused with negatives and do it incorrectly.
While struggling through, I decided this year to whip up this worksheet:
In my mind, this was going to be a quick review of shading since I knew some were struggling…little did I know this was going to blow up in my face (Boom). What I thought might take them 5-10 minutes was taking much longer and many were confused. Only after many seemed even more confused, I realized that the main thing that threw them off was that their was no coordinate grid. The students who liked the test point idea had no clue what to do. Vertical and horizontal lines also through some of them a curve-ball because we had not practiced as many of those at this point. Because it was not what they normally saw (always given a 10×10 grid and said to graph) they were confused.
Even though it was horrible at first, we talked through it and they made lots of progress. This ended up marking the turning point for the class as the day many students started having that light-bulb moment and went on to having much success on the chapter test. It is funny how things that seem easy to me can really take a long time for some students to grasp but getting them out of their comfort zone can really make a big deal in helping their understanding when it is all said and done.