Banner that reads: Teach students to graph any type of linear equation.

This last school year I taught 7th grade math for the first time, after over a decade in 8th grade math, and it was a real eye-opener for me. There were so many concepts I assumed my students had been exposed to prior to coming in to 8th that really hadn’t been taught in depth–the biggest of these being graphing!

When I started an 8th grade school year, we’d always jumped right into graphing linear equations as if the students were very familiar already. And while they had seen these concepts previously, having now gone through the 7th grade standards as a teacher it’s clear to me that my kiddos were definitely not as familiar as I’d assumed.

Worse, my curriculum really didn’t really do justice to beginning graphing lessons. You know those activities, where they go from graphing something simple like y = 3/4x + 2 straight to x = 4 and the kids go from “this is easy!” to “what the heck do I do with this?!” in a millisecond.

I needed something more specific than that.

I’m a big believer in teaching in “baby steps.” This is what I told my 7th graders all year, that sometimes we were doing baby steps to prepare for the long jump later on in 8th grade and high school. They seemed to like this analogy. (And it really helped my “this is too easy!” students understand the reason for spending purposeful time on the basics.) 

When I set out to teach them how to graph so they would actually be prepared for 8th grade graphing, I knew I needed to create a good “baby step” program. One that would get them comfortable with all kinds of linear equations that they would come across.

And, of course, one that was engaging and fun, because that’s always what math class should be about.

That’s how “Catch That Cat!” came into existence.


Banner that reads: Level 1 Positive slopes in quadrant 1 with a graph practice activity
Banner that reads: Level 1 Positive slopes in quadrant 1 with a graph practice activity
Banner that reads: Level 1 Positive slopes in quadrant 1 with a graph practice activity

I absolutely love how these turned out. They are exactly what my students needed, especially the ones that tend to struggle keeping up with the rest of the class. For the first few levels, there aren’t any concepts that have to be mastered ahead of time, so it really is very accessible to every student. Even my first grader at home was able to the first two levels after a quick tutorial.

We spent about 3 days total on this activity, with me demonstrating the first few problems of the current level under the doc cam, then releasing students to work independently or in small groups for about 20 minutes before gathering together again for the next level. Together, we got through the first five lessons, but since I allowed students to work ahead if they were quick to master the lower levels, plenty of kids finished all 8 (the last three of which covered more of what they would experience in 8th grade and high school).

By the time we reached the test at the end of the unit, I had more than 90% of students who had successfully mastered graphing basic linear equations at the 7th grade level (Levels 1-5), and about 40% of students who had mastered all 8 levels. Definitely a win for all of us. 


Banner that reads: Teach students to graph any type of linear equation.

In this example, students have already gone through five different levels of graphing and are comfortable graphing basic linear equations in all four quadrants. This level ramps things up by introducing slopes in decimal form and students learn the convenience of converting from decimal to fraction form for graphing purposes.

Math Equals Fun

Check out all the fun activities on my TPT store!

Looking for some fresh, fun, engaging activities that will make your students groan when the bell rings and math class is over? Check out Math Equals Fun activities by clicking the link above!

Now that I’ve vetted this activity and seen how effective it was in my own classroom, I’m putting it up on my Teachers Pay Teachers store for everyone else to enjoy. To check out the whole activity, including a preview of all included levels, click here or on any of the pictures above to go to the Math Equals Fun TPT store.

If you’d like to try out a sample first to see if the activity works for your own class, I’ve also put up a sample version of Level 1 that can be downloaded for free here.

Happy graphing, teacher friends! Can’t wait to hear about your classroom successes with this fun activity!



Note: This post may contains affiliate links. What are affiliate links? Basically a person links to something they’ve tried and loved, and if someone happens to click through the link and purchase it, the person can earn a small commission. This does not affect the price for the purchaser.

Little known fact: Just clicking on the link can help your favorite bloggers! If you click through the link to Amazon and buy something totally different that you were already planning on buying anyway, that person still earns a small commission. It’s a great way to show support for your favorite online sites!

For an easy way to throw a little support to both Crafty Teacher Mama and Math Equals Fun, you can click this link before purchasing any item off of Amazon. Thanks for your support!

Written by craftyteachermama