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Algebra Lesson Plan: Solving Absolute Value Equations

written by: Ginean Royal • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 1/3/2013

Demonstrate to students how to solve multi-step equations with this 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

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    • 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
    • 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.