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Slope of a Line Activity
This in-class activity provides a quick check for the instructor as to a student's understanding of slope.
To begin:
• Ask students to draw the coordinate system on a blank sheet of paper. (It will only be necessary to include the x-axis and y-axis on the paper.)
• Give each student uncooked spaghetti or a chenille stem.
Then:
• The instructor can then write one equation at a time either on the board or an overhead using the following Linear Equations and Functions. The equations should be given, one at a time, to allow the instructor to check for student accuracy.
• Once an equation is shown, students position a piece of uncooked spaghetti, or chenille stem, on their paper to reflect the slope of the line.
A quick assessment of student understanding can be performed by the instructor walking around the classroom and observing the steepness and directionality of the spaghetti or chenille stem. Alternatively, the instructor may remain at the front of the room and complete a scan of the classroom. The following Slope of A Line Activity Key may be used to assist the instructor with this method, since the instructor perspective will be upside down from the student view.
Extensions of this activity may include a more sophisticated coordinate system where instructors can ask students to graph lines with a specific slope and y-intercept or graph equations that are parallel or perpendicular.