I think introducing inequalities is so much more interesting and fun than equations. There are so many more real-world situations that students can relate to.

"Your mom says she will give you no more than $20 for lunch this week. How much money could she give you?"

"You need to be at least 48 inches to ride the roller coaster. How tall could you be and still ride it?"

"The elevator can hold up to 750 pounds. How much can the elevator hold?"

You can have some fun discussions with your students and even those students who struggle with math can participate because it is something they can relate to. It is great way to help students build confidence. Math isn't just a set of steps and algorithms--its a way to explain the world around us.

So this year, I was in the classroom because of lack of substitute teachers and got to start the inequality unit with some 6th graders. These are the two activities I used with students. (My campus currently has enough devices for every student.)

1. Desmos Inequalities on a Number Line

Have you used Desmos? You might know it as an online graphing calculator, but it is so much more. There are lessons on there that you can walk students through, see what they are doing in real-time, and give immediate feedback.

The assignment I have linked has students place value on the number line with prompts like "a number less than 3." This starts students thinking about how there are multiple numbers that fit that prompt. One class would only every pick whole numbers and I had to push them to see 1.5 as a value they could select.

Eventually this assignment shows students how we use a shaded number line to show all possible solutions.

2. Google Slides Beginning Inequalities

Next, I had students look at some real-world statements on the board and place possible solutions on the number line. I had several students come up to the board and use a marker to mark their possible answers. Again, all students were able to participate because theses were situations they experienced in their daily lives.

Now I know that when we get into solving and writing inequalities, that students may struggle. But by starting the unit with some low floor activities, the students can build their confidence and it is something I can continue to refer back on.