Slope Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Ramp up your instruction on slope with an informative yet simple video lesson. Then give students the chance to identify and calculate slope. To take instruction even further, try our ideas for additional activities and related lessons.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'slope'
  • calculate the slope of a line


45 minutes to 1 hour


  • Sheets of Cartesian plane paper (or draw Cartesian planes on graph paper)

Curriculum Standards


Describe the effect of dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates.


Understand that a two-dimensional figure is similar to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, translations, and dilations; given two similar two-dimensional figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the similarity between them.

Key Vocabulary

  • Slope
  • Delta
  • Cartesian plane


  • Begin by asking the students to list all of the not-flat or not-parallel-to-the-Earth surfaces in and immediately surrounding the school building. Examples may include hills, stairways, or a tilted chair-back. As an alternative, you may have students walk about the school to document all of the not-flat surfaces they see.
  • Have students share the slopes that they documented with the class, writing them on the board.
  • Now have students try to explain what a slope is, again writing key points on the board.
  • Next, play the video lesson What is Slope? - Definition & Formulas, pausing at 2:56.
  • Ask students to write down the formulas for slope that were explained in the video lesson and are now displayed on the screen.
  • Play the video lesson again and pause at 4:44.
  • Pass out the Cartesian plane paper to the students.
  • Ask students to copy the slope that is displayed on the board on their Cartesian plane paper.
  • Play the video lesson and pause it at 5:29.
  • Now have students copy this formula from the screen to add to the list that they previously created.
  • Play the video once more and pause at 6:39.
  • Using the list of slopes in the school building from earlier in the lesson, have students determine which of the slopes are positive and which are negative based on the information provided in the video lesson.
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson for the class.


  • Next, give the students a chance to practice what they've learned with a list of slope problems to complete using their formulas and the Cartesian plane paper.
  • Finally, when all students have completed their problems, ask them to swap papers with classmate to check (and correct, if necessary) one another's work.

Discussion Questions

  • Why might slope be an important consideration in building design?
  • What variations in slope on a ski run might impact speed?


  • Have students use blocks and marbles to practice creating and testing slopes of varying angles.
  • Ask students to calculate the slopes in the school building using a tape measure and their formulas.

Related Lessons

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