Some things depend on other things! That’s a fact in nature, society, and so on. One thing may be independent, while the other depends on the independent thing. For instance, a parent is independent, in that the parent can live where he or she chooses. A child is dependent on the parent since where the child lives depends on where the parent lives. Another example, is that the number of points in a basketball game depends on the number of baskets scored.

In math, we often deal with independent and dependent variables. The activity Representing Situations with Two Variables uses variables to represent real-world quantities that change in relationship to each other–one dependent and the other independent. Students analyze the relationship between these variables and use graphs, tables, and equations to represent this relationship.

Representing situations with 2 variables

But don’t forget the DRY MIX when teaching about independent and dependent variables. That is,

Dependent variable, Resulting, Y (goes on the y-axis)

Manipulated, Independent variable, X (goes on x-axis)

X-Y variables

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