20+ Ideas for Teaching with Math Task Cards



20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Task cards are everywhere you look because teachers are falling in love with this method of practice! Check out this post for information about WHY to use task cards, HOW to use task cards, and RESOURCES for task cards.


WHY
Task cards are less overwhelming than worksheets because students focus on one problem at a time.  This is helpful for all students, but especially those with attention difficulties.  With worksheets, sometimes I find students having a hard time getting started because the task seems so daunting, but with task cards it is much easier to focus on completing ONE problem… then another, then another.


Task cards can allow for movement as students change stations or walk to retrieve another card.  Movement is so important to incorporate into classes whenever possible.  Think about how much time your students spend sitting throughout the day.  They need opportunities to stand up and move to a different spot in order to wake up the brain!

20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Task cards can provide a variety of practice on one topic or several review topics.  They are so versatile!  Sometimes I use sets of task cards with a huge variety of topics to review for state or final exams.  Other times I focus on one topic for more repetition as students are learning a new skill.  The possibilities are endless!

Task cards can be reused again and again because students write in workspaces or a separate piece of paper.  Print on cardstock and laminate so they can stand the test of time and be used again.  You can purchase index card organizers to store them if you have the space.  Little to no prep after year one!

Students enjoy using task cards and show greater engagement than when completing a regular worksheet.  Perhaps the best reason of all… kids love them!  It’s literally a worksheet separated out onto small cards, but many students feel like it is a game.  My middle schoolers love task card days.  J


HOW
My favorite way to use task cards is to leave them in a bin at the front of the room.  Each student begins with one.  They complete the problem in their workspace, then return to the bin to compare their answer with the answer key.  If they are correct, they trade for a new card.  If they are incorrect, they return to their seat to determine their mistake.


Set up 5 or 6 stations around the room with a handful of cards at each.  I project a timer on the front whiteboard and have all students move to the next station at the same time.  Here’s my typical station schedule:
2 minutes: Focus silently and get started.
2 minutes: Collaborate with peers in your group.
1 minute: Check answers and wrap up.
I give my students verbal instructions when it’s time to collaborate and check answers.  During this time I walk around, help students get started if needed, answer questions, etc.

Place each card at a different location around the room and have students move around to complete them all.  They could be taped to walls with students using clipboards or set on desks so students can sit.  Switch it up and see what your students respond better to!

20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Give each student a different card to complete as a Problem of the Day or Exit Ticket.  Have students trade with others so they complete 3-5 problems.  This version is for quick checks that only need 5 minutes or so.  Students stay in their seats but get some quick practice.

Project some cards on the front board to discuss as a whole class.  This strategy could make a good opener before sending students off to practice on their own.  This method is also great for reteaching a concept or having students record some examples into a notebook.

Print out and use them as worksheets or a packet.  Of course there’s the traditional practice packet that works well, too!  In this case, students could write directly on the pages as there should be plenty of space to write.


EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES



Learning Made Radical: Ideas on Using Task Cards


RESOURCES
Looking for some ready-made resources?  I have FREE set of task cards for reviewing functions on my blog.  My full collection of task cards can be found here.


Smith Curriculum and Consulting put a new spin on using task cards in the classroom with her product: Left, Right, Answer!  Learn more here.

Scaffolded Math & Science offers a free set of Domain and Range Intervention Task Cards.  Scoop them up here.


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Teaching Estimating Radicals with Discovery



Teaching estimating radicals using discovery

The first time I taught radical estimation in my 8th grade classes I used organized steps and number patterns to introduce the lesson.  I modeled, answered questions, and allowed for individual practice time.  However, my students looked at me like I had two heads.  I went home and thought carefully about how to make the lesson more concrete.  Thus the Making Sense of the Irrational discovery worksheet was born (out of necessity for my kiddos).  Describing distance between numbers using pictorial representations of fractions made a huge difference for my visual learners.  Now I introduce my lesson using a discovery approach.

Provide Context
First, demonstrate why we need to estimate these radicals.  Have students plot rational numbers on a number line.  Note that it’s possible to be exact or very accurate.  Then ask students to plot a few irrational numbers on a number line.  This can open up a good discussion about how these numbers are estimated when placed on the number line because they are non-repeating, non-terminating decimals.  This demonstration creates a good segway; although we do not have exact decimals for these numbers, we can estimate the value to the nearest tenth to give us an idea of the value of the number.

Teaching estimating radicals using discovery

Introduce with Visuals
Now that the background knowledge has been established, use concrete models to help students visualize the distance between whole numbers.
Here’s how it works:
1)   Identify the two perfect squares the radicand is between.
2)   Take the square root of each of the perfect squares. 
(The estimation is between these.)
3)   Find the distance between the two perfect squares.  Draw this many open circles.
4)   Find the distance between the smaller perfect square and the radicand.  Color in this many circles.
5)   The pictorial representation can facilitate a good guestimate for the decimal.

Teaching estimating radicals using discovery

Teaching estimating radicals using discovery

Draw Conclusions & Practice
At this point in the lesson, some students will continue with the concrete models and some will express “aha” moments and find shortcuts on their own.  Making the lesson concrete first can help set a strong foundation for shorter, more efficient methods that students will more deeply understand.  Consider allowing students to Think-Pair-Share about the methods they can use.  Now they are ready to practice, practice, practice to make the skill permanent.

4 More Fun & Effective Practice Activities
Scavenger Hunt – Students move around the room as they practice estimating radicals. Each answer leads them to another station. A teacher and student favorite!!

Estimating radicals scavenger hunt

Hands-On Number Line Activity – This hands-on activity allows students to work in groups to order real numbers. This activity can facilitate great discussions – especially because many of the numbers are close together.

Estimating radicals number line activity


Traditional Notes & Practice – This resource could make a great activity for day two to reinforce the procedures previously discovered.  The best part is that it is differentiated based on readiness!

Estimating radicals notes


FREE Practice – I created this free practice just for YOU!  Students estimate radicals then plot the estimations on number lines.

Estimating radicals free activity


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Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom

Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom


Too often teachers see students make the same mistakes over and over.  It’s been marked wrong, it’s been corrected for them, or it has been re-explained but nothing seems to make a difference.  Time to try error analysis!  When students become the teacher, they get a new perspective on the topic.  They need to analyze mistakes - not just stuff them into a folder never to be looked at again.  Check out these great ideas for implementing error analysis in your math class:

You’ve Got Math Talent!
Based on the popular television show, four judges ask questions about possible errors made in the featured work.  This process helps students to look over specific steps to determine whether it was completed correctly or incorrectly.  Students then place an “X” in the box where the answer is no (ie the error) and demonstrate the correct steps.  There is usually one mistake, but there can be none or two to ensure student work is thorough. These error analysis sheets are perfect for warm ups, in-class packet practice, stations, homework, and more!

Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom


Check out available topics, including:

Here’s what other educators are saying about these resources:
“What a great way to see if students really understand.”  -Mary M

“This activity was similar to a concept cartoon which is a literacy strategy I recently learned about at a PL.  I loved the creativity of the character names and so did my students.”  -Joy M

“I love having students find the errors…it really makes them think!”  -Elizabeth C

Try this free sample in your classroom!

PS - The clipart is by the super talented Sarah Pecorino Illustration!


Algebra Error Detection Practice
In this FREE worksheet by Mrs. E Teaches Math, students analyze common errors made in algebra.  This resource is designed to facilitate discussion among peers in order to more deeply understand the mathematical concepts.  This is a truly meaningful way to address these common misconceptions!  You can learn more about math misconceptions in geometry on Karrie’s blog.

Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom


Errorgram
Tyra from Algebra and Beyond has a super creative set of resources for Error Analysis.  Errorgram is modeled after Instagram.  Students identify, explain, and correct errors in a fun, relatable format.  Once the activity is completed, it also makes great classroom decor!  Learn more about these resources in this blog post. 
Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom


Quiz Evaluation
Quiz evaluations are a great reflective process that I have always used after a quiz.

Students fill in:
-Name of the Assessment
-Strength – This is something they did well.
-Challenge – This is something they struggled with.
-For each question where they lost points, students fill in the problem number, topic, number of points lost, then they check whether it was a simple mistake or they didn’t understand.
-Corrections or reflection are completed on the back.

Students learn to identify and fix their OWN errors.  This is a strategy that I implement after a formative assessment, such as a quiz, so that students learn from their mistakes and – hopefully – do not make the same error on the summative assessment, or test.

I am offering this handout exclusively free for blog readers here.
This resource is part of my Classroom Forms set:
Implementing Error Analysis in Your Math Classroom


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