Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Power of a Puzzle in the Math Classroom




I love reading about the puzzles that Math = Love shares on her blog.  I have tried a few of them in my class with awesome results!

Here is a shot of my students as they worked to solve the Equilateral Triangle Puzzle.


Not only do I enjoy using the suggestions that Math = Love has on her blog, I also enjoy supplying my students with other puzzles I find different places.

For example,

this one I found on amazon (Wooden Puzzle Brain Teaser)



As you can see, we have that one pesky piece that just won't fit in unless you get everything in exactly the right place!

But, my favorite puzzles are the ones that I put up on the front bulletin board.  These puzzles allow students to work together and have conversations with students they normally might not talk to.  I have had students stop in from the hallway during passing period to work on these puzzles.  Kids come by after school!

There are three types we did last year on the front bulletin board:

1) Fun word puzzles...


2) Crossword Puzzles - I really like the big format of these puzzles.  I found them on amazon. (BIG Crossword Puzzles)  

Sadly, I don't have a classroom picture of these big crossword puzzles, but I will be sure to take one this year and post it!

3)  Stick Together Sticker Puzzles - These were my favorite puzzles of the entire year.

Here is an example of one of the posters that we finished around Halloween.


Here is a video that one of my students made by taking a picture of our progress each day. {This one was one we did close to the beginning of the year.}







My favorite part was the conversations that students had with each other and with me while they were working on them.  Students who didn't normally talk to each other worked together.  Students were excited to come into the classroom to see the progress on the puzzle.  They talked endlessly about what they thought the picture would be in the end.  When we finished one puzzle, they begged for another one.

{If you would like to try one of these Stick Together Puzzles yourself, see their website...Let's Stick Together}





Monday, July 8, 2019

10 Fun Secondary Math FREEBIES!



Everyone can use a little something FREE sometime!

Check out these 10 Freebies from me and some of my best Secondary Math Friends. {Click on each picture in order to download that Freebie.}

1)  This one is from my store Teaching High School Math.  I believe that students should work on writing in math class to help the teacher to see if they understand the material.  I have several writing activities in my store, but here is a free one for the beginning of the year in your geometry class.  Student practice basic vocabulary.  They are given several diagrams along with words and symbols that must be used used to describe the diagrams in a paragraph.  Great for formative assessment!




2)  This one is from my friend Jean Adams at Flamingo Math.  If you teach calculus, you might be using some things from her calculus curriculum!  This would be a great first day activity for Calculus, PreCalculus, or Algebra 2 (there are 3 options!).  It really sets the tone that your class will be one in which students work :)



3) This is from Hayley at Activity After Math.  She's a math teacher, but this activity could be used in a lot of different classes.  I love the idea of practicing coordinate graphing by graphing the United States!  And...she has EVERY INDIVIDUAL STATE in her store...but this graph of the United States is a FREEBIE!


4) I know all of you Algebra Teachers get this question all the time...why do we have to flip the inequality sign when dividing by a negative??  Well Julie at Secondary Math Solutions will help you answer this question in this Discovery Activity.


5)  Then, after your students figure out why they have to flip the sign, they can practice solving and graphing inequalities with this No Prep Activity from Amy Alvis!


6) Here's another skill that students need to practice a lot with - Literal Equations.  Combine that with a Connect Four game = FUN!  This is from Audrey at Math by the Mountain.


7) Need something to review vocabulary before the big test?  Check out this Algebra Vocabulary Review from Rachael at Rise Over Run.  It contains 36 vocabulary words.  Six different game suggestions are included, or come up with your own!


8) Next up are some fun notes about Quadratic Functions.  These are in comic book style - what could be more fun than that?  Students can color them in or add their own doodles.  These are from Joan Kessler.


9)  Here's another geometry activity for when you get to right triangles.  A graphic organizer that students can use to help remember the 3 basic trig ratios.  In addition, there are practice problems included...BOOM...an entire lesson done!  This is from Mel at Secondary Math Shop.



10)  And, finally, back to a second Freebie from me!  This one is a great one for allowing your students to practice working with Similar Triangles.  It also incorporates Technology as students use their device to check their answers using QR Codes (check out my post on using QR Codes Using QR Codes in Math Class ).  


I hope you have found something you can use in your classroom!





Thursday, July 4, 2019

Start Your Calculus Year Off Right - 5 Fun Limits Activities




Do you need some fun ways to have your students practice limits?

First up ...

Here is an activity that I created on Desmos - it's free for you to use with your students if you are interested.




Have you ever played the game Guess Who?  There are a lot of different versions out there...Pokemon, Disney, etc, etc.  But the general idea is you choose one of the given characters and keep that a secret from your opponent.  By asking one yes or no question at a time, your opponent has to guess which character you chose.  For example, they might ask does your character wear glasses?...Does your character have brown hair?...Is your character a girl?...

In this activity - known as a Polygraph Activity on Desmos - I have provided 12 graphs for your students.  As described above, each student chooses a secret graph.  Desmos magically assigns each student playing the game another student in the room.  Students type yes or no questions back and forth until finally they are able to guess their opponents graph.  One awesome thing about this is that you, as the teacher, can watch the students play on your screen...you can view the questions that are asked and how they are being answered.  Great formative assessment!

Here is a link to my game: Desmos Limits Game

Here are some other activities I have in my TPT store that your students can use to practice limits.

2)  Are you going digital?  Here are some digital task cards you can use to provide your students with practice using vocabulary and work out simple limit problems.


3)  Here is one of my favorite types of activities...A Scavenger Hunt!  Teachers post the 12 cards around the room.  Students begin with any card.  As they find the answer, they look for that card in another area of the room.  They continue in this manner until they return to the first card.  A fun way to practice that gets students out of their seats.

4) Mazes are always a fun thing for students to do.  Great for self-checking!  Here is one that students can use to practice limits.



5) Finally, here is the first in a series of Super Secret Number puzzles that you can use in calculus.  This one is, of course, about limits.  Students solve all of the problems and then add up the solutions.  This is the Super Secret Number.  Students check with me to see if they have the Super Secret Number correct.



I hope these activities help you get off to a great start this school year!