Inequalities Activities for High School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a high school algebra teacher, you probably devote a significant portion of your curriculum to helping students work with inequalities. This lesson offers some activities that make inequalities more hands-on.

Teaching About Inequalities

If you teach math at the high school level, you not only have to teach the mathematical content but also keep students engaged, motivated, and confident as they move toward increasingly complex mathematical material.

One way to work toward both of these goals simultaneously is to incorporate activities into your instruction. When you teach with activities, you give students a chance to take ownership over their own learning and look at mathematical concepts from a variety of different vantage points. The activities in this lesson will help you teach inequalities in algebra while appealing to a variety of learning styles and strengths.

Visual Activities

Many students work best when they have visual tools like graphic organizers and images to support their learning. This section offers activities well-suited to your visual learners.

Illustrate the Inequality

This is a visual activity that students can work on in small groups or partnerships. Begin by giving each pair an algebraic inequality to work with. Choose an inequality that is suited to their mathematical level. Then, ask students to solve the inequality for the appropriate variable.

Lastly, ask them to create one diagram illustrating each step along the path toward resolving the inequality. If they want, they can make their visual into a comic strip that illustrates a step-by-step guide to resolving the inequality. Let students share their work with classmates and discuss their overall strategies.

Greater Than, Less Than

Ask students to work independently or with one partner for this activity. The task is to complete a graphic organizer using inequalities.

Give each student or pair one whole number to start with, ensuring that you have a range across your class. Then, project an array of algebraic inequalities for all students to look at. They should sort the inequalities into two columns. One column shows inequalities wherein x ends up less than their original number, and the other column shows inequalities wherein x is greater than their original number. Let students compare results and check for accuracy.

Games

Sometimes, students just want to have a little fun and competition during their math learning! Here, you will find games that support instruction around inequalities.

Design a Board Game

This activity can be tactile and kinesthetic as well as visual and fun!

Break students into small groups and ask each group to design a simple, logical game board and set of game instructions for others to play. The game should be oriented around solving and working with inequalities at an appropriate level and should require players to use mathematical knowledge and skill. Let students present their products, then designate a class period for playing each other's games!

Inequalities Ball Toss

This fun game can be played as a warm-up before your math class begins. Start with one striped beach ball and use a permanent marker to write a different inequality equation on each stripe.

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