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PBS Teachers

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Mathline

The Yo-Yo Problem
Solving Linear Equations

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Objective

Students explore linear patterns, write a pattern in symbolic form, and solve linear equations using algebra tiles, symbolic manipulation, and the graphing calculator.

Overview of the Lesson

The lesson starts with the presentation of the yo-yo problem. Students then complete a hands-on activity involving a design created with pennies that allows them to explore a linear pattern and express that pattern in symbolic form. Algebra tiles are introduced as the students practice solving linear equations. Working from the concrete to the abstract is especially important for students who have difficulty with mathematics, and algebra tiles help students make this transition. In addition to using algebra tiles, students also use symbolic manipulation and the graphing calculator. Finally, the students return to solve the yo-yo problem. A very special feature of this lesson is the effective use of peer tutors in this inclusion classroom.