Exploring the Equation “d=rt”

Overview: Pre-algebra or algebra students develop and exhibit their understanding of the relationship among the parts of the linear equation d=rt through multiple means–table, line graph, equation, computer simulation, computer model, and word problem.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context

Systems Concepts

  • Students will be able to explain the effects of setting varying rates within a computer simulation.

  • Students will be able to create a table, write an equation, and graph the equation d=rt.

  • Students will be able to identify the difference between constant and variable slope.

  • Students will be able to solve for any of the variables in the equation d=rt.



  • Read and analyze graphs to make valid predictions based on the data given.

  • Describe, represent and analyze patterns and relationships using tables, matrices, equations and graphs and describe the connections among those representations.

  • Distinguish between linear and non-linear functions, given graphic examples.

  • Generate an algebraic equation to model real-life situations given a data set.

  • Solve equations, functions,  and inequalities.

  • Solve linear equations using models/ manipulatives, symbols, and/or graphing in one- step equations.

  • Solve formulas for specified variables.

  • Change over time

  • Patterns and trends

  • Accumulations

  • Interdependencies

  • Structure generates behavior

  • Temporal and spatial boundaries



Systems Tools

Computer Activity: 

  • STELLA 8® or higher, d=rt Speed Machine simulation (accompanying document, d=rt Sim.stm)

  • One computer with projector

  • Computers in a lab setting (minimum of one per two students)

  • d=rt handout for each student (accompanying document, d=rt handout)

  • “iceberg” poster or overhead (accompanying document, Iceberg)

Kinesthetic Activity:   

  • 3 radio-controlled cars, batteries for cars

  • 3 rolls of masking tape

  • 3 stop watches

  • 8 yard sticks

  • one handout per student (accompanying document, Car worksheet)


  • One copy per student of the “d=rt Story and Graph Assignment” (accompanying document, d=rt story)
  • Copies of desired version(s) of the test (accompanying documents Test, Test answers, Retake test, Retake answers, Modified test, Modified answers)

Computer Activity: 3-4 hours

 Kinesthetic Activity:  2-3 hours

Note: The computer activity can be implemented without completing the kinesthetic activity.

  • Behavior-over-time graphs

  • Computer simulation

  • Iceberg visual

  • Computer model


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