This download includes FOUR activities to help your students transition from finding slope as a ratio on a coordinate plane to finding slope on a real-world graph. The activities help to build an understanding of slope as a rate of change in life by making connections to students' own lives. Students will also recognize that greater rates of change are represented by steeper slopes. Answer keys are included.
Activity 1: Walking and Running Rates
Students will walk and run 100 feet, then create a straight-line graph to represent their walking and running rates. Students will understand that the “running” line is steeper because it represents a faster rate. They will then calculate their own walking and running rates, in order to develop a frame of reference to speeds they have seen in real life (in miles per hour).
Activity 2: Heart Rates
I use this activity the day after we find walking and running rates, to reinforce the idea that higher rates are represented by steeper slopes on a graph. Students will create straight-line graphs to represent their heart rate while resting, after walking, after doing jumping jacks, and after another exercise of their choosing.
Activity 3: Comparing Jane and Cameron’s Rate of Sales
This is a good follow-up activity once students learn to find rate of change on real-world graphs. Students are asked to plot points representing money earned at two different businesses, then to find the rate of earning (slope) for each business and compare the two rates.
Activity 4: Our Halloween Adventure
I use this as a whole-class discussion. Students plot points representing various activities while trick-or-treating. They are asked to make observations about various rates on the graph (comparing slopes). They are then asked to find the rate of each section of the graph.