Graphing Linear Equations

Activity Overview: 

This unit on graphing linear equations begins with students learning to manipulate an equation into slope-intercept form. Through classroom discussion, guided practice and independent practice, students understand the graphing assignment. The class reinforces the concept of manipulating and graphing equations using graphing calculators and the computer program Green Globs and Graphic Equations.

Students will develop an understanding of and the applications for linear equations and their graphical displays.

The unit on graphing linear equations will begin with students learning to manipulate an equation into slope-intercept form. This will be accomplished through classroom discussion and guided practice from an overhead projector and the chalkboard. Students will then have independent practice with a lesson from their algebra text. Another series of lessons will follow on graphing equations and the various methods of graphing a linear equation.

The proposed lesson will follow after becoming familiar with slope intercept form, manipulating an equation, and graphing equations. Students will participate in a cooperative learning activity of matching a graphic display with an equation. A Kagan Activity; corner; will then be used for students to practice graphing an equation. After the review students will reinforce the concepts learned through the use of a graphing calculator. Future concepts such as parallel and perpendicular lines will also be introduced. Through the use of a LitePro and one computer, students will be introduced in the classroom to the computer program, Green Globs and Graphing Equations. Students will then move to the computer lab and work individually on the tutorial and game. Upon completion of the game, students will then complete an Internet lesson on the applications of the concepts learned. Students will communicate their understanding of the concepts learned through a journal entry as well as other methods.

This is a building block in algebra; therefore, this concept will carry on for many more lessons and possibly years.


(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.) 


Curriculum Standards from

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Indicators from

After a brief into and a review of linear equations students will be given an equation and a graphical display of a different linear equation. Students must find the graphical display which matches their equation. Upon finding their match, students will work in groups of three or four to verify each other’s match. A code is on the back of each and the correct match will be revealed by the teacher.

Mathematics: 2, 3, 6, 8


Working in groups of three or four, students will each take an equation and create the graphic display for their equation. Then students will regroup so that one from each original group will now be working with others with the same equation; students will do a peer assessment. Students return to their original group and take turns showing their group members how they arrived at their graphic display. All students are to complete each graphic as it is explained. This is a Spencer Kagan activity entitled, corners. Each students’ graphics are turned in to the teacher.

Mathematics: 2, 3, 6, 8


Using graphing calculators students will extend their investigations of linear equations. Students will draw conclusions about slope and y-intercept. The concept of parallel and perpendicular lines will be introduced.

Mathematics: 2, 3, 6, 8, 9

Grades 6-8: 4, 7, 9

Grades 9-12: 8, 10

The computer programGreen Globs & Graphing Equations(Sunburst) will be used to reinforce the concept of slope-intercept form. The software will be introduced in the classroom with the use of an LCD Projector. In a lab setting students will be given 20 levels of lines to identify the equation. For each line given, students are to give the equation in slope-intercept form. If a student does not get the equation correct, a red line is graphed for his/her equation so that the student can see if they have the slope correct or maybe the intercept is what is wrong. Students are given unlimited chances on writing the equation for the line; however, they must get an equation correct for each level the first time in order to advance to the next level. I have created a record-keeping sheet in which students keep up with how many times they incorrectly write an equation. After completing the lesson, students will then play the game Green Globs in which they are to write an equation for lines that will hit as many globs as possible with one line in order to get points. Students become very interested in slope and intercepts at this point, and they also become very competitive. The program has a record keeping system for the top ten scores.

Mathematics: 1, 2, 3, 6

Grades 6-8: 4, 5, 8

Using the Internet as a resource, students will gather data to create a graphic display and experience a real world application of the use of linear equations. Students will be supplied with other possible sites they may visit which will reinforce the algebraic concepts covered in this lesson.

Mathematics: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10

Grades 6-8: 4, 8, 10

Grades 9-12: 7, 9

As a summation students will write an entry in their journal that demonstrates their understanding of the the concepts learned.

Mathematics: 2, 3, 6, 8, 9

Grades 6-8: 4, 5, 8

Grades 9-12: 7


Graphing Calculators
Overhead Graphing Calculator
Overhead Projector
LitePro. Available:

Green Globs & Graphing Equations. Sunburst. Available:

Access to Computers:
Internet access in a lab
Computer in the classroom

Web sites:
Internet Lesson: 

Auto Buyer’s Guide:

Slope-Intercept Form: 

Algebra Online-

Which wheelchair ramp is steeper?

Instructional Plan for Concept of Slope

Mr. Bunge’s Algebra Practice pages

Multimedia Activities

Miss Hamilton’s Mathematical Web Pages

Teacher made worksheets and activity supplies

The matching of a linear equation with the graphic display. Peer-assessment will occur during the Kagan Activity, corners. Self-assessment will be done from the visual display of the overhead calculator. A rubric will be used for Green Globs & Graphing Equations tutorial. The Internet lesson and journal entry will be assessed by the teacher. Students will also be assessed through out the course on this concept.

Pam Maclin, Math teacher, Bernie High School, Bernie, MO
Internet Lesson from:
Teacher created worksheets by Pam Maclin

This unit will come early in the course and this activity will be used after students are successful at manipulating equations. My students were reenacting this activity to an extent. I did not do the Internet lesson the same way earlier. This lesson can be taught in a 90-minute block and students may use open lab time to further research the sites given.

I have used the computer program Green Globs  for several years with great success. Students don’t complain about graphing equations; they actually enjoy it. The game feature allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the concept in a competitive way.

Technology Resources:
I chose the computer program, Green Globs, after first seeing it demonstrated at a technology conference. The program is individual and has a broad range of tutorials. The cost of the computer program is reasonable and very well worth the money. Students are more enthused about learning mathematics and actually enjoy it.

The use of the overhead graphing calculator and student graphing calculators gives students the opportunity to instantly see results therefore draw conclusions and introduce future concepts.

I like using the LitePro projector to take the students on a virtual field trip in the classroom prior to turning them loose on their own with the computer. This takes care of a lot of questions later.

School Background Information:
The population of Bernie is approximately 1,900. Most of these residents are farmers/farmhands or work in blue collar jobs in neighboring towns. We have a mill in town that produces axe handles, but the number of positions available is quite limited.  The school is home to approximately five hundred students in grades K-12.  Nearly all of the students (95%+) are Caucasian, and an even higher rate are native speakers of English.

Teaching Strategy:
Allowing students to work in groups makes it less threatening and also gives each student a support group. So many times students don’t like math because they are afraid they will fail and are therefore threatened by the subject. Giving students a support group to fall back on is like having a safety net and thus makes them more willing to try solutions.

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity

(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.) 

I feel that the use of a computer program to enhance learning is a strong part of this lesson. Democracy is a crucial part of this lesson as well because students must be able to share power, make decisions, and demonstrate Individual Responsibility of the responsibility. Having students actively involved in their learning and assessing each other puts part of the responsibility on them and makes them have ownership of their learning. The use of the graphing calculator is a reinforcement of the concepts learned as well as a Reflection and introduction of future concepts.

Student Characteristics:
All students learn at different rates and through different modes so for that reason I have tried to make this lesson as well-rounded as possible in that we still do concrete and abstract activities as well as thinking. The students in this class were not all what I would call typical math students and with the use of the technology in this lesson those students were given an opportunity to fail and retry until success was found.

How the Activity Has Evolved Over Time:
I have used the computer program for several years and added the pre-activities to the lesson to facilitate learning for the slower students and reintroduce the concepts to all students. The Internet lesson was added so that students would see a real-world application of the mathematical concepts. The journal entry is also a way of having students demonstrate understanding through writing.

(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology