Need to teach your big kid slope-intercept form but don’t really feel like explaining it? Break out the ol’ TI 86 — or use the amazing free Desmos graphing calculator — and let her figure it out herself.
Given the basic equation, y = mx + b, and a little time to experiment, most kids can discover how changing values for m and b affects the graph of the line. Have them draw out a variety of examples in their notebook and write about their observations. Make sure they explore both positive and negative possibilities, as well as fractions and zero.
This simple, student-controlled activity gives them confidence and a solid context before they begin reading about forms of linear equations and will help set them up for success moving forward.
By the way, if you are teaching Algebra without a graph-ruled notebook, you are torturing yourself unnecessarily.