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Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Solving Formulas for the Given Variable

Subject Area



9, 10, 11, 12


This lesson will use the process of inverse operations to solve formulas for a given variable. Some formulas will not be recognized by the student. The actual formula is not important, but the variables are.

This lesson results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.


    Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.

    Unpacked Content



    • Literal equations
    • Variable
    • Constant


    Students know:
    • Properties of equality and inequality


    Students are able to:
    • Accurately rearrange equations or inequalities to produce equivalent forms for use in resolving situations of interest.


    Students understand that:
    • The structure of mathematics allows for the procedures used in working with equations to also be valid when rearranging formulas, The isolated variable in a formula is not always the unknown and rearranging the formula allows for sense-making in problem solving.

    Essential Questions

    Learning Objectives:
    GEO.4.1: Accurately rearrange equations and inequalities to produce equivalent forms for use in resolving situations of interest.

    Primary Learning Objectives

    The student will be able to rearrange formulas to highlight a specified quantity.

    Additional Learning Objective(s)

    The student will be able to solve multi-step equations.



    As the students enter the classroom, the teacher will have the bell ringer, Bell Ringer Solving Equations, on the interactive whiteboard. The students will write the answers in their notebook. The teacher will call on students to work the problems on the interactive whiteboard. The teacher will show the answers and discuss the relationship of inverse operations.


    1. The teacher will introduce the videos from Virtual Nerd website as follows:(Solving for a variable in a formula), (Solving in terms of another variable)

    2. The teacher will write on the interactive whiteboard, "Rearranging the formula to highlight a specified quantity." The teacher will explain the process for rearranging formulas is the same as solving multi-step equations. The teacher will use examples from the textbook to review the concept of inverse operations.

    3. The teacher will hand out the worksheet from the attachments, Rearranging Formulas. The teacher will put the students in groups of four with one of the students being a peer-tutor. The teacher will monitor the students and make an informal assessment.

    Accelerated students will have a worksheet in the materials section.(


    The Teacher will hand out the worksheet, Exit Slip Formulas, from the attachment section. The exit slip will be the formal assessment. The students will turn in the exit slip as they leave the classroom.

    Assessment Strategies


    The teacher will monitor students as they work in groups.


    The teacher will grade the exit slip for accuracy.


    The accelerated assignment will be the worksheet in the materials section. (


    The teacher will assign peer-tutors in the groups. The teacher will monitor student engagement and do one-on-one instruction.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Background and Preparation



    The teacher needs to preview the videos from the website, Virtual Nerd, and develop questions to ask students to check for understanding. 


    The student needs to know how to solve two-step equations. The student needs to be able to explain inverse operations.

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources



    Student and teacher textbook

    Solving for a variable in a formula:

    Solving in terms of another variable:

    Worksheets to be copied for all students (in attachment section)

    Rearranging Formulas

    Bell Ringer Solving Equations

    Exit Slip Formulas

    Accelerated Worksheet (copy as needed)