One of the activities that we have at my school to try to involve some 7th grade students is called the Amazing Academic Race. It is modeled loosely after the TV show The Amazing Race.

Students compete in various different fun academic events throughout the school such as Current Events, Creative Writing, and of course, a math competition. I have been in charge of the math portion of this event for the last several years and I have made it TOO HARD! Well, now that my son is actually in 7th grade, I have more of an idea of what 7th graders can and can't actually do!

So, I changed things up, and I think my portion of the race was much more successful this year. In addition to changing the types of questions I was asking, I also wanted to incorporate technology. So here, is what I came up with.

I begged the tech department for 5 iPads since I would have 5 groups at a time. Students had 45 minutes to compete in the math portion of the competition. I created 7 math questions that the group of 4 students could work on together.

After I quickly showed each group how to use a QR Code reader app and a calculator app, I gave them their first QR Code.

By the way, even though I know this would be a question that students could solve by writing a system of equations, I knew some groups wouldn't know how to do that. I thought that they would be able to guess and check though. Some groups did definitely struggle with this. For next time, I may need to rewrite the question a bit.

But, I digress -- after students solved this question, they ran off to find room 106. Keep in mind, these are students that don't go to my school, so finding the room was actually part of the race. At room 106, there was another QR Code which led them to their next problem.

At the end, I gave students a bonus problem which would hopefully occupy the rest of their 45 minutes.

I was really happy about how this race turned out. Students were engaged, I showed them how to use a bit of technology, and they were doing math problems - what could be better??