Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Teaching Integer Operations with Dice

One of my daughters is headed to middle school next year, and I had a thought about getting her started on adding and subtracting integers.  But..she doesn't like math...sigh!!! so I have to trick her and make it into a game :)

I bought some blank dice from amazon. (48 Blank Dice)  Using a sharpie, I started with using 4 of these dice.  On one of the dies I put the positive numbers from 1 to 6, on the second die, I put the negative numbers from -1 to -6, the third die had sides with addition signs and subtraction signs, and the 4th die had = signs on all of the sides.

Here are a couple examples of what the dice look like once they are rolled.  Notice that the subtraction sign is purple - I originally did all of the dice in black, but then we couldn't tell the subtraction sign from the number one.  So, I would recommend that you use a different color on the die with the operation signs.

Can I still do this activity if I don't have dice?

Absolutely - one option is to use a random number generator.  You can find lots of them on the web, or you could even use your TI-Calculator.

I like this one...Random Number Generator

Just change the limits

And then press generate

You could do this as an entire class activity and students could take turns generating the random numbers.

Or, here is an integer dice roller website!!

Here ---  Integer Dice Roller

I hope you and your students enjoy this activity!

{if you are interested in purchasing this activity, find it on my TPT store Integer Dice Activity )

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Crack the Code Puzzles in Math Class - Fun!

I have recently making a new type of puzzle for the students in my math classes.

These are Crack the Code Puzzles.  Here's how they work.

Most important is the set up...I set up the room before the students come in.  Desks are arranged in groups of 3 or 4 and a safe/toolbox/lockbox is set on one desk in each group.

I may write on the board Crack the Code!  This immediately generates interest in the activity as soon as students walk in the room.

There are many types of lockboxes or safes that could be used for this activity.  Just be sure that whatever "treat" you are giving for opening the lock box will fit in the box you choose.

I am trying this lockbox that I bought at Target.  It was $15.  Not too expensive, but very expensive if you have to buy too many of them!  I intend to use this multiple times though, so I figure it is worth the investment. [Need other examples of lock boxes or tool boxes?  Read my post about making an escape room activity here: Making a Breakout Box]

Depending on the time of year, the treat I give will be different.  It might be candy, it might be a homework pass, it might be a ticket for extra points on the final exam.  If you want to use mini candy bars - like Halloween size,  8 of those (and more) will easily fit in one of these boxes.  

Here's a picture of the actual item with some candy inside.

Now on to the activity...

Each page of the activity has 10 true and false questions.  

Here's an example from my Quadrilateral Crack the Code Activity.

Notice that some of the given statements are true and some are false.  Students determine the number of true statements on each page.  The number of true statements is one of the digits to the combination that will open the lock.

Students continue to pages 2 - 4 and can then try the combination on the lock.  If they are correct, the lock opens and they get their treat - or if you're really creative, you can use this as just one task in an escape room type of activity.

One advantage to using this assignment is that you can tailor the assignment to the type of lock that you have.  If you have a lock that only has three digits...only give the students 3 pages from the assignment.  If you want to give each group a different combination, change the order of the pages you give them, or give them a different set of pages.  Great for differentiation.

I currently have two Crack the Code activities available in my store, with a possibility of more coming soon.  Check them out here: