Slope is one of those super important Algebra topics that just keeps coming around. It even shows up years later in Calculus! I love teaching all topics with tons of activities that get students thinking independently and working with each other. This way everyone gets the practice they need to feel confident.
Every year, our slope and linear equation review in Algebra 2 is a little brutal. I'm convinced that when the word "slope" comes up, my students immediately shut off because they have heard it - a thousand times - before. Then I'll get x on top of y, errors with negative signs, graphed x and y intercepts instead of y intercepts and slope. You name it, I see it. Why? From seeing this same thing year after year, I really think it comes down to how well they pick it up the very first time they see it.
Below are some activities that make slope accessible and fun for all students. (There's also a free slope activity included).
I love sorting activities because they give students lots of confidence in the very early stages of learning a new topic. There are finite categories and answers, so students can rely a little on process of elimination. This can often be the boost kids need to push themselves through tough topics.
One of my classes this year responds really well to scavenger hunts. If you have never done a scavenger hunt, the idea is pretty simple. Students do the big problem on each slip of paper, record their answer on their answer sheet, then find their answer on the smaller box on another slip of paper. This goes on until all problems are done.
I hang the papers in random order in the room or in the hall outside of our classroom. The very best thing about scavenger hunts is how super easy they are to grade! Students can start on any slip of paper. From there, the slip number order on correct answer sheets will all be the same! A super quick scan of the side of a student's answer sheet reveals if they got all problems correct. Students also know immediately if they did something wrong because their scavenger hunt will "short circuit" back to a problem they have already done. I added some QR code hints on some of the trickier problems.
I don't give many tests, which I know may be controversial. What I give instead to summarize understanding are task cards. The way I see it is that I answer so many questions during tests - and then feel guilty about it - that I might as well use the time to give a learning activity where questions are welcomed. The other big reason I don't give many tests is that most of my students have failed math tests repeatedly and I just don't wan to be part of that for them. Task cards work great as a way to sum up learning in a low-stress way. This set of task cards includes a fun mystery message.
If you know you're going to be out, or it's the day before a vacation, or you're just in need of some classroom brightening, this slope tree doubles as math classroom decor.
I took this photo of a sample at home and it's still hanging on my wall months later!
Math pennants are another great way to engage students and also build classroom decor for days leading up to conferences, Back to School night or holidays. Students love seeing their work displayed, especially when they can personalize it with colors. (Coloring is optional, of course:)
If your students like showing off their math and their creativity with math pennants, I have a bunch more. I also like getting requests for topics I have not yet covered. (I send them to you for free when that are done as a thank you!)
This is a quick puzzle with 16 pieces that covers positive, negative, zero and undefined slopes. Students can cut out the pieces themselves, which are all mixed up on the printout. You can find this free activity here. (I also have a bigger slope puzzle in my TpT store.)
Because every class and every year is different, this big bundle of slope activities includes all the activities in this post as well as a Jeopardy game, an "I Have Who Has?" game, an additional set of slope task cards, a set of slope notes and a slope quiz. It's super discounted and the activities are sure to meet the needs of all of your students.
You may also like this post about