Absolute Value Inequalities Activities

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

This lesson contains a few activity ideas that can help students learn about absolute value inequalities. Students will engage with absolute value inequalities in meaningful hands-on and minds-on ways.

Absolute Value Inequalities

When learning about algebra, students often comment that the new concepts they're studying are simply a combination of ideas covered at an earlier time. This is, of course, is an apt assessment of much of algebra.

Absolute value inequalities make for a strong example of how algebraic concepts relate to each other. Once students have a firm grasp of absolute value (like the magnitude of a number, regardless of sign) and inequalities (such as expressions that are not equal in nature), they can combine the two into a more complex idea. The activities that follow are designed to help students explore absolute value inequalities in interesting, engaging ways. Always be sure to keep a close eye on students; some of them may need more support along the way!

Hands-On Number Line

  • Materials: teacher-made, life-size number lines with the numbers spaced about 3-4 inches apart (one per each group of four students)

This group activity is an effective way of introducing students to absolute value inequalities as it allows them to work collaboratively while developing complex skills. Provide groups of four students with a large number line. Then, display an absolute value inequality on the board.

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