Monday, April 25, 2016

Math Monday: Closing the Year Meaningfully

Happy Math Monday!
This month the Math Mondays Blog Hop is all about closing the year meaningfully.  During a time when students and teachers are feeling antsy and experiencing a case of spring fever, here come the standardized tests and finals.  In this post, I will share an engaging review idea to help keep everyone - students and teachers alike - excited about math class!

Structured Collaborative Fun
One of my favorite ways to review with students is by playing BINGO in small groups.  My students find BINGO super fun, and what I love a lot about this type of review is that is structured.  I share the expectations and guidelines with students before we begin, and then we just get to play.  Students love being able to talk with others while doing their work.  I love that they get to help each other out and reteach their peers – because let’s face it – I can’t be by the side of all 20-something students in the room.

Here’s how it works:
·      Ahead of time type up the questions you want students to review in a PowerPoint presentation – one question on each slide.

·      Create a generic BINGO board (with nothing filled in the boxes) by making a basic table using Microsoft Word.  Make enough copies so that each group gets one board.

·      Cut up little slips of paper and label each piece with the numbers 1-24.

·      Set your classroom up into groups so that 3-5 students can work together. 

·      Do you love your TI graphing calculator?  I use “randint” to have it give me a random number between 1-5.  (I’ll explain why in a minute.)  Not calculator savvy?  No big deal.  You’ll just randomly select a number each time.

·      Allow students to choose their seats or using grouping cards to keep it random.

·      If you have mini-whiteboards, give each student a whiteboard, eraser, and marker.

·      Assign each student in the group a number between 1-x.  x=the average number of students in a group.  Some students may need to take one two numbers or some students may need to share a number.

·      Pass out the BINGO boards.  Make the middle a free space, then have them fill in the numbers 1-24 in any order in the remaining boxes.

·      Call up your PowerPoint and ask students to work together within their groups on the first problem.  Advise them to work together, but not be so loud as to give away their answers to other groups.

·      Give a time warning.  Then use your TI “randint” or select a random number.  The student who has been assigned this number in each group holds up their board.  If they are correct, their whole group is correct.  If they are wrong, their whole group is wrong.  Forced collaboration!  J
·      Once you have determined which groups are correct and explained anything needed before moving on, flip the number cards you created and call out the number you see.  Groups who got the question correct can cross that number off on their BINGO board.

·      I usually pass out Dum-Dums, pencils, or stickers for students who win BINGO.

Teach 8th grade math and would like me to save you the prep time??  Check out these BINGO review games:

Be sure to check back for additional ideas for review over the coming weeks.  Happy teaching!

Check out the links below to read posts by other amazing secondary math teachers!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Math Misconception: Solving Linear Equations

A common math misconception and how to address it - solving linear equations

This week I am participating in a Blog Hop hosted by Scaffolded Math and Science.  We’re tackling math misconceptions by sharing some ideas for how to combat common mistakes.

I’m currently reviewing angle relationships with a group of eighth grade students.  They were very comfortable with the vocabulary and relationships formed from parallel lines cut by a transversal.  So week two I added to the challenge by combining angle relationships with linear equation writing and solving. 

Big Misconception:
When to combine like terms
When to add or subtract to move terms

Case 1: Combine Like Terms
In some cases, students were given supplementary angles.  So they needed to add them together to equal 180 degrees.  For example, students were given same-side interior angles or the interior angles of a triangle.  The x values all ended up on the same side of the equation.

Case 2: Add or Subtract to Move Terms
In other cases, students were given congruent angles.  They set each expression equal to one another.  For example, students were given alternate exterior angles.  The x values ended up on opposite sides of the equation.

Case 3: 2 in 1!
I included some cases that required students to combine like terms then add or subtract to move terms.  For example, students were given an exterior angle and the two remote interior angles.  What a challenge!

How we addressed this topic in 3 steps:

We talked about when we would see each case.
Supplementary angles get added to equal 180.  Since the x values will be on the same side, to solve combine like terms.
Congruent angles are set equal to one another.  Since the x values are on opposite sides, to solve add or subtract the terms to move them to the other side.

I shared with students these key phrases to help them remember the difference:

Same Side Slide
“Slide the terms together” when they are on the same side.

Opposite Side, Opposite Operation
When terms are on the opposite side of the equals sign, use the opposite operation to move one to the other.

We practiced, practiced, practiced! 
Check out these resources:


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