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Toothpick houses: Meaning behind linear equations

Patterns give meaning to equations of lines. Try this one. Make a one-story house out of 6 toothpicks. Record the story number and number of toothpicks in a table. Then build a two-story house by adding 3 toothpicks to the bottom of the house. Now there are 9 toothpicks. Record (2, 9) in the table. Continue the pattern of adding stories to the house and recording the number of toothpicks per story. Describe the pattern. Then look at the graph. The roof with 3 toothpicks represents the y-intercept. The additional 3 toothpicks per story represents the rate of change, or slope. It doesn’t matter how many stories you add, the data will always fall on the same line! See the graph in the video below.

Handout: See Thinking in Patterns Session 1 BLM 3.

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