Category: Active Learning in Math

Speed Rounds: Test Review Game

Here’s a game we play on Test Review days that engages all the students at once and gives every team a chance at points in every round (unlike Jeopardy). I count the students off into groups of 3-4 students. Each group gets an answer sheet for the game (a piece of colored paper with a letter, A, B, C, D, …) at the top. I make a “scoreboard” on the board to tally the results of the rounds (12 in this case). Here’s what that looks like: Then we begin the game. Here’s a sample game – the one we played today in class. Uploaded on authorSTREAM by wyandersen For each round, the students work with their group to come up with an answer they can all agree on. Group A writes this on their answer sheet, Group B on their answer sheet, etc. If a group does not want to submit an answer they can write “HOLD” or just hold on to their sheet for the round. When all answers are in, I put up the answer and, if necessary, work through the problem. By the end of the game, the scoreboard might look something like this: The students seem to like the game whether you play it for points or just for fun. I always choose the more difficult problems for the game because it has the...

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Activities for Algebra

I have always tried to teach algebra in a way that is understandable, interesting, and active. Although you can find activities for teaching algebra to younger students (6th and 7th graders), I have never found a good classroom resource to use with adult students. Even in the resources for younger students, the activities always seem more like busywork, when they could provide an opportunity for students to truly understand difficult concepts or explore the similarities and contrasts that abound in mathematical procedures and ideas. I have enjoyed taking the time to sit down and write what I hope are interesting and useful resources for teaching algebra to adult students. It has grown from a small idea into a behemoth with a life of its own during the writing process, as the pedagogies described in the Teaching Guides continued to force more activities to be written. I am still writing, but there are currently over 500 pages of activities, assessments, and teaching guides. For their assistance on the Elementary Algebra IRB, I owe a great big thank you to my faithful mathematics assistant, Megan Arthur, who tirelessly filled in a lot of the necessary (but boring) detailed mathematical work and graphics on these activities all summer – without her time and energy, this work would not be a reality today. Also, I extend a grateful thank you to Maryanne Kirkpatrick,...

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