Saturday, March 14, 2020

Calculus March Madness





I have wanted to do a review activity centered around some type of "Math Madness" competition for a long time, but couldn't quite figure out the logistics of how to make it work.  I was inspired by a post on the AP Calculus Facebook Teachers Group and I decided to give this a try in my classroom.

Here's what I did...

First, it was important to me to keep each student involved in this activity for as long as possible, so I decided to have a Double Elimination Tournament.  I have 22 students in Calculus AB, so I googled 22 team double elimination brackets, and found a perfect bracket already made at Print Your Brackets.




I struggled as to how I should place students in the bracket...should I seed them just like the real March Madness competition?  But then I decided...this is just supposed to be fun, so I decided to fill in the bracket in real time right in front of the class.  I used flippity.com to choose one name at a time from my class list and had one of the students fill in the bracket as I went.  This generated excitement and let the students know I wasn't playing favorites :)

I just put the brackets on my white board...if I knew I would always have the same number of students in my class, I would have a big write on/wipe off poster made of the size brackets I need, but who knows?

After I had the brackets filled in, it was time to start the first round.  I arranged all of the desks in groups of 2 facing each other.  I had students put one of their phones in the middle of the two desks.  The phone was used as a stopwatch.  I distributed a copy of the first round of questions to everyone face down on the desks.

Here is an example of what my questions looked like:


When I said go, students turned over their questions and answered them as quickly and accurately as they could.  When a student finished, he or she turned their paper over and wrote the time on the back.  (This is to determine who won in the case of a tie).  When everyone finished, I read the answers and the students graded their own work.  I depended on the honor system...students were watching each other anyway, and they all wanted to win and wouldn't tolerate someone who was changing their answers.


Once we determined the winners from the first round, we filled in the spaces on the bracket on the board and moved to the next round.  Since this was a double - elimination tournament, all students were still included in this round.  The second round was finding derivatives.


We continued through several more rounds.  As we continued, some students were eliminated.  They were still expected to work on the questions given in subsequent rounds, but they just weren't competing anymore.

Depending on the size of your class, you may or may not be able to complete this competition all in one day.

I have enough questions for 8 total rounds of Math Madness.

If you'd like a FREE copy of my Math Madness set of questions, please subscribe to my newsletter!






Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pythagorean Theorem Speed Dating


It's the middle of winter here in Chicago and I need to liven things up in my classroom.

So, since we are gearing up for a quiz on the Pythagorean Theorem, I thought I might try this year's class at Speed Dating.

I made a group of 12 Pythagorean Theorem word problems that could be solved in about 3 minutes of less.  I printed one problem on each piece of paper.


I set up my room by putting 12 pairs of desks together.  Label the pairs of desks from #1 - #12  (You will want to adjust based on your number of students - I have 24 students in my class, so this worked perfectly for me.)

Each pair of desks gets one problem.

Set the timer for 3 minutes.  (You may want to adjust the timing based on your group of students.)  I actually put a timer up on my projector.  This seems to keep students focused and working for the entire time.  It also helps me keep to the schedule.  I can't get distracted by one group needing help...etc...the timer goes off in 3 minutes!

When the timer goes off, one of the students in each pair moves up a desk, and one moves down a desk.  (For example, the students who started the assignment in desk #5...one of them will move to problem #6 and one will move to problem #4.)  This gives everyone a chance to work with everyone else in the room.  No one complains about their partner because they get to work with everyone!

After everyone has had a chance to see every problem (36 minutes), I project the answers up on the screen and we go over them if students need to.

Students love this activity, and I love how it really runs itself.

If you're interested in seeing my Pythagorean Theorem Speed Dating Activity, check it out here:







Friday, January 17, 2020

Valentine Multiplication Color By Number


Do you need something to help your students practice their multiplication facts near Valentine's Day?

This 2 pack of Valentine Puzzles (one for multiplication facts and one for division facts) will help your students practice using a Valentine Theme.

If you're interested, you can buy it right here: