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Solving Systems of Equations Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Systems of equations take time and practice, and initially they can be very daunting. Anything we can do to lighten up the learning process is worthwhile. So, check out these fun systems of equations games you can try with your students.

Solving Systems of Equations Games

Systems of equations can be confusing to students when they first see them. They might be used to solving single equations, rearranging them until they get a solution. Understanding how two separate equations can relate to one another can be hard for them to grasp at first. Even when they do get to grips with it, they need consistent and repeated practice to be able to answer systems of equations questions consistently. Each one takes a great deal of work.

In this lesson, will give you some ideas for games your students can play to give them the practice they need.

Systems of Equations Team Game

Rather than having students complete pages and pages of worksheet questions, instead we can have them work on systems of equations problems in groups. These groups can then compete with one another to try to win a small price, or simply for bragging rights. To play, separate students into groups of three or four. Give each group something equivalent to a game show buzzer, which could just be a bell or noisemaker. One at a time, put questions on the board and challenge students to complete them. In the early rounds, have every group write an answer on a small piece of paper and hand it to you. Any group that answers the question correctly gets a point.

In the later rounds, increase the pressure and sense of competition by bringing the buzzer into play. The first group to buzz in gets to answer the question. If they're right, they get two points. Other groups can still finish the question within a certain time limit and get one point, but the group that finished first gains a bonus point. When all the questions are completed or the time is up, the group with the most points wins the game.

Equation Stories

Word problems can be among the more confusing for students in math. To help them better understand systems of equations word problems, we can have our students create their own. This has the added bonus of engaging creative and artistic students and giving them a change of pace from regular questions.

For the equation stories game, instead of giving them a word problem, give them a system of equations, and ask them to write a story that represents those equations. Collectively, your students will create many stories for each question. To finish, you can have them take turns reading their stories to the class.

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