It feels like the biggest emphasis in 8th grade math is slope and y-intercept. This topic is found all over the standards and goes from basic to complicated. In the end, we don’t just want students to know a whole bunch of stuff about linear expressions. We want them to be able to apply what they’ve learned about slope and y-intercept. We want students to interpret situations, make predictions, and solve problems.

Hopefully, by the time you get to the word problems your students have built the skills they need to identify and understand slope and y-intercept in tables, equations, coordinate points, and stories. In this post I’ll share with you 8 activities to help your students take the next step and apply what they know about slope to solving slope intercept word problems.

I love teaching this unit on slope intercept and linear equations. We start with identifying slopeand unit rate, then we add the y-intercept. Next, we start comparing functions, and then converting tables, graphs, and stories into linear equations. Finally, we’re ready to solve linear equations in the context of bi variate measurement, or in other words, get to solving slope intercept word problems. Over the course of the unit, I feel like I see a light bulb turn-on in students’ heads one by one. Everyday I get to see a few more light bulbs turn-on. It’s very rewarding to see all of the students’ hard work, and then for them to get to a place of understanding.

We work on this topic from start to finish for 5 weeks and the word problems are the last thing that we do. I love that we get to a point that students get to explore more and figure things out instead of just learning new skills. The activities that I’m sharing in this point will engage your students and give them great practice for solving word problems with slope and y-intercept.

## The list of activities:

- Slope Intercept Word Problems Bingo
- Slope Intercept Word Problems Task Cards
- Travelling with Linear Equations
- Gamify Worksheets with the Target Game
- Coloring Page Freebie
- Key Words Graphic Organizer
- Real World Example Lesson-Dominos Pizza

## Let’s dive in

You’ll find a wide range of activities in this list. Some of them are perfect for introducing ideas, others are for practicing with a partner, and some work great as review. The activities can be used as warm-ups, practice, or homework. Check them out and find what will work for you and your students.

## Slope Intercept Word Problems Bingo

I love using bingo in my class because the students get so into it. Usually, I use Jolly Ranchers as the prize. It’s crazy what the kids will do for a Jolly Rancher! I have each student work out each problem on a whiteboard and show me their answers before we go over the answer. This gives me an opportunity to make sure they’re working, and I can give feedback as needed.

This particular bingo game will give your students a chance to practice reading word problems, writing an equation that fits the story, and then solving for a specific situation. They’ll get a lot of practice because it includes 30 problems. Usually, it takes 15-20 problems before someone gets bingo. When I have about 8 to 10 winners then I have them go for blackout of the whole board. This game can easily take a whole class period.

## Slope Intercept Word Problems Task Cards

These slope intercept word problems tasks cards progress from skills like identifying what the slope and y-intercept represent, to making predictions from linear models. Also, students will practice writing equations from stories or graphs.

I like to use these task cards on the third day of the unit. Students complete them with their table partner. I print them with the answers on the back. If you do it this way, then you can teach students to fix their own mistakes as they go. This strategy has been very successful for me and helps kids get immediate feedback on how they’re doing. You do have to emphasize that the learning is more important than finishing. But once they get that, they really do a good job of working the problem, and then seeing if they’ve got it.

It can be difficult to find enough story problems to practice slope and y-intercept. Something that you can do with these task cards is use them twice. You can use the stories from the cards and then have students model different situations. For examples, instead of predicting what will happen after 3 hours (as written in the original problem), you can have students predict what will happen after 10 hours. If you do this the problems on the task cards can go a lot farther.

## Travelling with Linear Equations

This travelling with linear equations activityfrom Algebra and Beyond was so fun! And it was a great, practical application of solving linear equations. The kids loved being able to imagine where they were traveling and trying to earn free tickets as frequent flyers. It was so simple to set up and took about 25 minutes start to finish. One thing that I really liked is that there was no right answer. Students need opportunities to see that math is more than getting right answers.

To do this activity, students worked in groups. I gave them a few stipulations. For one thing, they had to travel to 5 different continents. As it turned out, I taught a geography lesson too. Also, they started in Phoenix, where we live, and they had to end in Phoenix. I gave them the rule that they earn 2 frequent flyer points per mile and that each flight had a bonus of 500 points. They got so into this activity, and there was great math talk going on. It was awesome to hear one student explain to another what the equation represented and how it would help them figure out the points.

## Target Game with Word Problems and/or Worksheets

I work with students in a math lab situation where they take two math classes a day. They are in this class because they struggle with math. I’ve found over the years that if I just give them a worksheet, they get turned off rather quickly and they won’t complete much.

To solve this problem, one of the things that we do with worksheets is to do one problem at a time and after each problem we play a game. One of my favorite games to play is the target game. A few years ago I bought this ball made of suction cups and it sticks to the whiteboard perfectly. So, I ask a few questions about each problem. Whoever answers the questions gets a shot at the target. To keep all students involved, I have everyone else choose one person to sponsor. They get whatever points the person they sponsored hits on the target. It makes for a lot of fun.

While the worksheets I originally shared in this post are no longer available online, playing games like the target game can be done with any set of problems from your textbook or worksheets.

## Coloring Page Freebie

I use this coloring page as a review of this topic a few weeks after we have finished it. It works great as a review and gets the kids talking about solving these types of word problems. It doesn’t take too long, and I can work with the kids who still need help. The coloring part is engaging but it’s also small so that it doesn’t take a whole bunch of time. I have students work in partners when they work on this assignment.

Download this coloring page activity for free here. To get even more free math activities, ideas, and resources sent right to your inbox, sign up here to join the Maze of the Month club.

## Key Words Graphic Organizer

This freegraphic organizer has a great list of keywords related to slope intercept. It goes through the y=mx + b slope intercept form and is a go to resource. I have students create a similar graphic organizer in their interactive notebook as a reference.

Also, we practice completing a blank version of this graphic organizer as an anticipatory set. I have them write down everything they can remember about the “y” or the “m” from slope intercept form. This gives them some quick practice to help get some of these ideas to their long term memory.

## Real World Example Lesson-Dominos Pizza

This real world activity from Mathalicious is called the Domino Effect. This lesson works in 3 acts. In my class we did the first two questions together. Then, students worked with their partners to solve the rest. The graphing tools within the assignment are awesome and students could see how slope intercept works in a real life situation. Some of the students were reluctant to try because it was too hard. With those kids you have to give them a little encouragement and help them figure something out, so that they can feel the success. This activity took us about 40 minutes to complete and discuss. (Update: as of 12/2023 this activity is now only available to subscribes of Citizen Math).

## Try one thing

You may be looking for multiple activities or just something to spice things up. I always encourage people to try one thing. Just add one new tool to the proverbial teaching toolbelt. Once you get a hang of that activity, then it’s easier to try another one. Over the course of the year you can really bulk up the variety of activities in your classroom and get your students super engaged in their practice.

Thanks so much for reading! Until next time.