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Innovation in Teaching Competition - Beyond the Textbook

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Solving Linear Equations with a Teeter Totter

Chuck Trader
Saint Marys Middle School
Camden County Schools

Grade Level and Content

Eighth Grade


This lesson uses hands-on application activities to help students understand how to solve linear equations in one variable and to interpret, determine and create various equations that have one solution, no solution, or infinite many solutions. Students first work collaboratively to complete a self-directed Learn Zillion activity and practice problems. Then, students move on to a teeter totter activity where they experience the algebra involved in building and balancing a teeter totter – gaining applied algebra knowledge, and a connection to the science and engineering concepts of fulcrum, force, resistance, and leverage. At the end of the lesson, students further apply these concepts by using moving dollies, shovels, and wheelbarrows.

Standards Addressed

M.8.EE.7; M.8.EE.7a; M.8.F.1; M.8.F.4; M.9-12G.GPE6

Available Materials

• Lesson Overview with Standards
Learn Zillion Activity Sheet
• Solutions of Equations Practice Problems
• Summary Report Rubric

Video of Lesson

> Download this Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as')

About the Teacher

Chuck Trader is currently a 6th grade teacher at St. Marys Middle School in St. Marys, GA. Mr. Trader has a Bachelor of Science in Business from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Trader spent 25 years as a corporate banking and finance professional and entrepreneur. His best piece of teaching advice is to get the students engaged into applying what you are teaching in a way students can directly relate.

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Disclaimer: The unit plans and materials on the Innovation in Teaching Competition website are aligned with Georgia’s standards through December 2014. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards have been revised. The revised standards were approved by the State Board of Education on January 15, 2015. The revised ELA and Mathematics standards were renamed from the CCGPS to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).

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