Working Systems in Groups

Once the three methods of solving systems of equations have been taught, graphing, substitution and elimination, a wonderful review activity is for students to work in groups of 4 solving systems together, discussing solutions and methods chosen. I did this activity over a two day period as a review for the cumulative chapter test in algebra honors.


  • To have students become more proficient in solving systems of equations, both abstract and in context
  • To have students discuss their method of solution and analyze its efficiency
  • To have students utilize technology in solving systems of equations


  • Graph paper, ruler, graphing calculator, pencil, paper


     Divide students into groups of 4, if necessary a group of 3 will sufficient. Create small name plates to identify the job(s) of each student reading Graphing, Substitution, Elimination, and Calculator. Give each group a set of system of equations, with the first day focusing on the abstract and the second day focusing on the system problems in context. Each member of the group works out the problem, showing all necessary work for their method. The calculator person will have no work to show except the solving of each equation for y. After each person determines the solution, they compare results. As a team, if a member did not come to the correct answer, or if the group as a whole disagreed on the answer, discussion would occur. Each member would analyze other student’s work, ask for assistance from group members or lend support to group members if they can. The goal is to get students discussing the mathematical process for each of the methods of solution. After an answer has been agreed upon and work corrected as needed, students will then discuss which method, or methods, was/were the most efficient. It’s important that students do not get stuck utilizing the same method over and over again, simply because they don’t know how to do the other methods. There are instances where one method is more efficient than others. For each question, each member will write to why their method was the most efficient, or not efficient. For each question, the jobs rotate. This is to insure that each student gets the necessary practice on all methods.

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