As we have been working on inequalities in my Algebra 1 class, my students have been having trouble understanding the concept that if 1 > j, then j < 1. To me, it makes sense. If 1 is greater than j, then that means that j has to be less than 1. But for my Algebra kids, that abstract reasoning is just not quite there.

But then, I had a brilliant idea! Height! I picked two students – one really tall, and one really short. We’ll say their names are Chris (the tall one) and Jane (the short one). We made an inequality. If Chris is taller than Jane, then C > J. From that, since we know that Chris is taller than Jane, it made sense to the students that Jane HAS to be shorter than Chris, so they wrote an inequality for that! J < C.

Then we talked about age. If Chris is older than Jane, then C > J. Since Chris is older, than Jane MUST be younger than Chris, so J < C.

We did a few examples like this, and it then talking about flip-flopping the inequalities. When you flip-flip the side of the inequality, then you also have to flip-flop the sign!

This really helped the students to understand the ‘Flop Flop Order Matters’ sheet that we did, which you can find the link to in my previous blog post.

This definitely helped though!

It is such a great feeling when students are struggling with something, and you just don’t know what to do, then you switch it up, and students start getting those ‘Ah-Ha!’ moments! I LOVE seeing Ah-Ha moments!