Proportional Relationships & Linear Equations Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

As a middle school math teacher, you want your students to understand the concept of proportional relationships and linear equations. This lesson offers some activities you can use to supplement your instruction.

Teaching Proportional Relationships and Linear Equations

If you teach math to middle school students, you are helping them make the transition from the often fairly concrete math associated with an elementary curriculum to the deep and complex math they will encounter in specialized classes in high school.

One of the most important things students will need to learn is what it means to have a proportional relationship in a mathematical concept. Linear equations are one of the most frequently referenced and used kinds of proportional relationships.

To make sure that your students comprehend these concepts deeply, you might want to incorporate some activities into your instruction. The activities in this lesson appeal to different learning styles and strengths while teaching students about proportional relationships and linear equations.

Proportional Relationships Activities

Here, you will find activities that focus students' attention specifically on what it means to have a proportional relationship.

Moving in Proportion

Sometimes, students can understand the concept of proportionality better if they can model it physically. Ask students to work with partners for this activity.

They should develop a pattern that shows movement in proportion. For instance, perhaps one partner takes five steps and the other partner takes three steps; then, they take ten and six steps respectively. Students should model their movements, and classmates should describe the proportional relationship they are seeing.

Images of Proportions

This is another activity that students can do in partnerships.

Ask students to create artistic images that model a proportional relationship, such as between two shapes or patterns. Then, ask all students to put their images together as a springboard into a discussion of what proportionality looks like on a visual level.

Linear Equations Activities

This section provides activities that will deeply familiarize your students with linear equations.

Color-Code the Equation

Ask each student to work on this activity independently.

Have them start with the general equation of the line. Ask them to rewrite the equation in a color-coded form, with one color representing slope, one for y-intercept, etc. Then, give them a series of linear equations written in different orders and ask them to rewrite each of the equations according to their color coding principles.

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