teaching exchange...
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Download X Marks the Spot Partner A

Download X Marks the Spot Partner B

X Marks the Spot

This makes a great warm-up activity for Algebra students. It's a race to find unknown variables as partners solve linear algebraic equations together. Pairs of students receive two Pocket Word documents, each containing two linear equations. They must solve their first problem and then exchange answers with their partner so that they can solve the second problem on their handout.

Grade Level(s)

Curriculum Area
Algebra I

Time Required
Less than 1 class period

Standards Connections
Materials/Resources Needed
Necessary Technical Skills
Student Activities

Standards Connections
  • National Standards:
    • NCTM - National Mathematics Standards-Recognize and generate equivalent forms for simple algebraic expressions and solve linear equations.
  • State Standards:
    • Virginia Math Standards of Learning 8.16 The student will solve multistep equations in one variable.
    • See www.explorasource.com for more state standards connections.
  • District Standards (fill in your own)
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Students will:
  • Solve linear equations with one unknown variable on both sides of the equation.
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Materials/Resources Needed
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Necessary Technical Skills
  • Electronic Handouts:
    • Students must be able to open a Pocket Word document, switch the view to "Writing" so they can write below the problem, and switch the zoom to 100% (instructions included in the X Marks the Spot handouts).
    • Students must be able to beam and receive files. Refer to the User Guide for instructions if necessary.
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Student Activity
  1. Beam half the class the "X Marks the Spot Partner A" and the other half of the class the "X Marks the Spot Partner B" electronic handouts. Pair each student who has handout A with a student who has handout B.
  2. Tell students to open their files and follow the instructions to switch the view and the zoom of their document.
  3. Explain to students that they will be racing against the other teams to solve for the unknown variable in their equations. Each student must solve the first problem and then share his or her answer with a partner so that they can solve the second equation.
  4. When everyone is ready, let students begin to work. Once everyone has finished solving the equations, go over the answers to all four problems together.
  5. Use this as a regular warm-up activity throughout the school year by changing the problems in these handouts. Tip: You can differentiate your instruction by making the Partner A handout more difficult and giving it to students with stronger math skills.
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