Teaching Absolute Value Equations: Algebra Lesson Plan

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Prior Knowledge: Students should have learned how to write equations, translate sentences into equations and equations into sentences, solve one-step equations using addition and subtraction, solve simple equations using multiplication or division, solve multi-step equations and solve equations with variables on both sides of the equation. Finally students will learn how to solve equations involving absolute value.

Common Core State Standards

A.REI.1: Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

A.REI.3: Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters.

Mathematical Practice(s):

3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

7 Look for and make use of structure.

Learning Target(s)

  • I can apply order of operations and inverse operations to solve equations
  • I can construct an argument to justify my solution process

Essential Question(s)

1.What is the difference in solving a regular equation and an equation with variables on both sides?

2. Do you treat absolute value equations any differently than regular equations?

Vocabulary: inverse operation, isolate, variable, constant, reciprocal, coefficient, absolute value bars, absolute value



  • Instruct that minus and negative are equivalent
  • GOAL: to isolate the specified variable
  • Instruct that what is done on one side of the equation (= sign), must be done on the other side of the = sign.

Watch the video on absolute value equations on Khan Academy.

  • Go to www.khanacademy.org
  • Scroll down and click on Algebra (2nd tab under Math)
  • At the top, type in the search bar: absolute value equations
  • This will bring you to the video lesson. The length is 10:41.
  • After watching the video, click on the green button above the video that says: Practice this concept
  • This will give you 8 problems to solve. There is a hint button for the students if they need it. If they students need more practice problems, Khan Academy will give them more of the same type of problems.

_* Reminder for students: that –x is the same as -1x & x is the same as 1x.

Guided Practice: Khan Academy offers practice problems. Do this together as a class.

Independent Practice: Approximately 5-15 problems to be done alone. These problems can be pulled from any textbook or other resource.

Closure/Review: Quick class discussion on what was learned today. You can ask leading questions but let the students come up with what they learned today.

Exit Ticket: This is to be done the last 3-5 minutes of class and given to you (by hand or in a designated area of your room) as they leave class. Possible question(s):

Give them one more problem from Khan Academy for them to solve on paper.

This post is part of the series: Beginner Algebra

Make algebra easier for your students with these introductory lesson plans.

  1. Lesson Plan: Solving One-Step Equations using Addition or Subtraction
  2. Lesson Plan: Solving One-Step Equations using Multiplication or Division
  3. High School Math Lesson Plan: Solving Multi-Step Equations
  4. Lesson Plan: Solving Equations with Variables on Both Sides of the Equation
  5. Algebra Lesson Plan: Solving Absolute Value Equations