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Grade: Middle
Subject: Mathematics

#3455. Solving literal equations

Mathematics, level: Middle
Posted Sat Apr 23 19:42:08 PDT 2005 by Shannon Smalley (
Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, VA, USA
Materials Required: Starboard, help-cards, stickers, prizes, chalkboard, calculators
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Concepts Taught: multi-variable equations

Lesson Plan: Literal Equations and Formulas
Ability Level: 9th grade mixed ability. Behavior issues exist.
Model: Direct Instruction.

Rationale: You can solve an equation such as I=Prt for any of its variables, so you need to learn only one model for most real-life relationships.
Goal: Students will learn how to solve literal equations, especially formulas, for a specified variable.
Objective: The student will solve multi-step linear equations and inequalities in one variable, solve literal equations (formulas) for a given variable, and apply these skills to solve practical problems. Graphing calculators will be used to confirm algebraic solutions. (SOL A.1)
• Introduce students to the Problem of the Day. This will be on a section of the board throughout the lesson, and when students complete an assignment early, they may work on the problem of the day.
• Next, introduce students to their help-cards. Students will put these cards face up when they have a question. Tell them that if I notice some positive behavior, I will put a sticker on their help-card. If a student has 5 stickers at the end of the lesson, they will get a prize. However, I can put an X through the sticker if I notice the student behaving poorly.
• Next, begin the warm-up exercises.
• Begin by defining “Literal Equations.”
• Work 2-3 examples on the board, asking and taking questions. Call on students by name to keep them engaged.
• Guided Practice: Use the Starboard to do the guided practice as oral exercises.
• Cooperative learning activity: students will work with a partner on a two-part question. (Jenny and Ashley will work together).
• Independent practice: Students will have a worksheet to start and the end of class and finish as homework.
Closure: Ask for students’ attention. Do a short recap of the lesson: i.e. ask students what a literal equation is. Then ask if anybody solved the “Problem of the Day.” Give a prize to anybody who solved it. Next, count up stickers on the help-cards and give prizes to those who received more than 5.
Time Required: 30 minutes
Materials/Technology: Starboard, prizes, worksheets, help-cards and stickers, white/black-board, calculator
Assessment: Participation in discussion, cooperative learning assignment, independent practice assignment.
Homework: Independent practice worksheet.