Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Solving and Graphing Linear Equations: Practice Games

  • Model Algebraic Equations with a Balance Scale: A bit confusing to start, but fantastic for visual thinkers. Build the equation, then keep the scales balanced by doing the same thing to both sides until you have solved for x. Clicking on blocks instead of dragging can reduce the tedium.
  • Interactivate Equation Solver: You provide steps for solving an equation, along with reasons ("additive inverse" if you're "undoing" an addition or subtraction or "multiplicative inverse" if you're "undoing" a multiplication or division). The program responds with the new equation that would follow from doing what you suggest to both sides of the equation. Keep going till you get x by itself and know what its value is. (Leave "Use Identity Properties" off unless you want to have to do extra steps saying adding 0 or multiplying by 1 can be ignored.)
  • Solving Equations Connect Four: Loads slowly. I recommend setting the timer to a longer time, or no time at all. Play with a partner or your imaginary friend. Experiment with the different difficulty levels and settings till you find the right difficulty (except don't do "Quadratic" for Math 8).
  • Solving Equations Hangman: Ignore the letters! Good equations for practice; gamewise, not terribly exciting. Solve each problem (on scratch paper) and enter the answer. Mistakes cause a part of the hangman to be drawn. 
  • Manga High Algebra Meltdown: Complicated, fun, some time pressure. You have to provide the "input" (solution) that will "go through the machine" (equation) to give the desired output. You can adjust the difficulty level after you've succeeded at easier levels in previous games; I'm not sure how you can save this if you play at school, however.
  • Algebra vs. the Cockroaches: Cockroaches on your graph paper! Annihilate them! Choose your weapon, which will fire in the straight line whose equation you provide, hopefully hitting the cockroaches before they breed. Read the instructions (they're quick). Remember growth/change = slope = rise/run; they all say how much y increases (or decreases) when x increases by 1. Some time pressure; try using hints if this gets frustrating.