Monday, December 26, 2016

Practice Structures: Tic Tac Toe

Tic Tac Toe is an easy way to have students work on building fluency and is more engaging than just completing a worksheet.  You could try this activity with either of two different approaches.

The first option is  to treat the game sort of like bingo.  Each player would have a board, questions are chosen one at a time.  Every student solves the problem and marks the solution on their game board if they have it.  Play would continue until one player gets 3 in a row.  I wrote about an activity like this here.  The activity was made to help students practice graphing linear inequalities.

The other option would be to play the game more like Hollywood Squares.  Students take turns choosing problems to solve.  If they correctly solve the problem, they win and color in the corresponding square until they get a certain number of squares in a row.  Here is an activity that I created with this format.  The activity was designed to have students practice finding the surface area and volume of spheres.

I'd love to hear more ideas on how to use tic tac toe in your classroom!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

#Teach180: Days 61-70

This year I've taken on the #teach180 challenge.  The challenge is to post one tweet per day showing a glimpse inside your classroom.  I'm also putting the tweets together in a biweekly blog so that I can share the resources that I'm tweeting about.

Day 61:  Today was a quiz day.  I give cumulative quizzes on each fifth day of class.  However, next week I'll be skipping the cumulative quiz in favor of a benchmark test to help my students prepare for midterms.

Day 62:   Today in geometry, we practiced using properties of parallelograms with a chain activity.  Here is a link to the activity if you'd like to give it a try.  I wrote about this type of activity here if you want more info.

Day 63:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced solving quadratic word problems.  I borrow these problems from Patrick Brust.  My students will definitely need a little more practice with writing equations from the word problems.

Day 64:  Today in geometry we determined which characteristics of  quadrilaterals guaranteed that the quadrilateral would be a parallelogram.  We used ExploreLearning's Gizmo.  I like using these apps because it allows students to quickly conduct many trials and make conclusions based on the patterns they find.

Day 65:  Today in algebra 2 we used +Desmos to explore discriminants and how they affected the number and type of solutions to a quadratic equation.  I love Desmos for creating visuals for students without having to take the extended time to graph everything by hand.

Day 66:  Today we had our first set of benchmark tests.  I'm nervous about grading them.  Other than midterms and finals, my students have not taken large tests on multiple units of study before.

Day 67:  Today in geometry we practiced using properties of rectangles and rhombi with ExploreLearning's Gizmo.  It is so helpful to to have to construct all of these parallelograms for kids to explore.

Day 68:  Today in algebra 2 we used +Desmos to explore vertex or completed square form of a quadratic.  I created this assignment a few years ago before I knew how to make an activity builder; I'm thinking it is time to rewrite the assignment to be more interactive.  Here is a link to the assignment.

 Day 69:  Today in geometry we discovered properties of trapezoids, isosceles trapezoids, and kites.   This is an old school paper and pencil activity.  I like using technology, but sometimes low tech adds variety.  I downloaded the activity from Peter Jonnard on TpT.

Day 70:  Today in algebra 2 we played Parabola Marble Slides by +Desmos.  My students needed to use a lot of trial and error to solve each slide, but they were motivated to do well, and they got better at predicting how changing certain values in a quadratic equation would change the graph.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Practice Structures: War

This practice structure involves solving problems with quick mental math and comparing solutions.  I have found several math war games online and played them with my students.  Whether solving 1 step equations with pre-algebra students or practicing unit circle trig values with pre-cal students, my students always love this game.

This year I played this version of war to review exponent rules with my algebra 2 students. Here are the directions that I used for the exponent rules version of war.

I will be playing this version by Kate Nowak soon to practice mental evaluation of logarithms.  If you have other ideas for using war in your math class, please share.  I'm especially interested in geometry and algebra activities.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

#Teach180: Days 51-60

This year I'm taking part in the #teach180 twitter challenge.  The challenge is to post one picture from your classroom each day of the school year.  I am also writing a biweekly post to share the resources that I tweet out.

Day 51:  Today was a quiz day.  I give cumulative quizzes every fifth day of class.  On this particular quiz, I had quiet a few students attempt to simplify a fraction by "canceling across addition or subtraction."  I need to reinforce this again obviously.  I've tried doing simply arithmetic examples and showing how the fractions are not equivalent.  Any other ideas on how to show students that this does not work?

Day 52:  Today in geometry we started reviewing for midterms.  The exams are about 2 months away, but I'm starting to build in a review activity several times per week now to help with long term retention.  We completed this activity on Explore Learning.

Day 53:  Today in algebra 2 we practiced solving equations with complex solutions by playing a game of BOOM!  Some of my students get really into it since they get to yell "BOOM!"  Others are not quite impressed.  I found the rules for the game on TPT a few years ago.  The question cards just come from a worksheet.

 Day 54:  Today in geometry we added another review station in preparation for the midterm.  We reviewed conditional statements with Explore Learning's gizmo.  I really like these activities as they are more hands-on than a worksheet.  The subscription is a bit pricey, but worth it in my opinion.  I'm lucky to have one year of access at least.

Day 55:   Today in algebra 2 we practiced adding and subtracting complex numbers using dice.  The kids complained it was too easy.  I suppose I can add in multiplying complex numbers next time.  I'll have to make a 3 part spinner instead of a two-sided chip to determine the operation.  I kind of love that my kids feel comfortable telling me that an assignment was not challenging enough for them.  It makes me think that they expect more from me and they are holding me accountable.  I'll take that as a win!

Day 56:  Another quiz day.

Day 57:  Today in geometry we used Explore Learning's Gizmo to review angle relationships such as complementary, supplementary, adjacent, and vertical.  This tool has been a life saver for me this year.  It is so much quicker to use this that to create something in Geometer's Sketchpad, Geogabra, or some other applet.

Day 58:  Today we practiced dividing complex numbers and using conjugates with a board game.  I just took a worksheet and put each question on a game card (using slides in PowerPoint).  This strategy still allows students to build the same level of fluency as completing the worksheet, but it is a bit more fun.

 Day 59:  Today my geometry students reviewed biconditional statements with ExploreLearning's Gizmo .  The drag and drop activity provided just enough scaffolding.

Day 60:  Today my algebra 2 students practiced completing the square with this +Desmos activity.  The good folks at Desmos even had some recommendations on how I could make the activity better next year.  I'm going to try creating several slides with 2 similar problems per page so that students can differentiate sign issues but not have too much clutter to see through.

That's it for this go 'round.  Feel free to borrow and edit the resources as well as to join in with #teach180!