Week 8 Poly-Gnomials Speed Dating?

poly-gnomialsSo, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote in this blog.  I wish there was a good excuse!   We’ve been going through Topic 5 and 7 of the Algebra 1 Pearson textbook…. journaling and practicing all the joyous methods and types of problems pertaining to Exponents, and multiplying polynomials.

Tomorrow, is the day!  I will try out Speed Dating with the Algebra kids.  I’ve  read a few blogs about this, and have tried to wrap my head around it.

Here’s my method to start with:

Students sit in desks that are facing opposite each other in two lines (which may curve around the room).  I have made cards with the questions on one side, and the answers on the other.  There are two sets of cards.  “Table #” and “Seat #”.   So Jim North and Bob South sit across from each other. Next to them sit Sarah North and Susie South and then Lina North and Linus South.  The “North” students receive the “Table Cards” and the “South”  receive the “Seat Cards.”   The students at each table also have a cup that is turned upside down.

The students work the 3 problems from the card on paper.  When they are finished, they turn the cards over and check their answers. They both have the same problems at the first of this “Speed Dating.”  The teacher goes around and verifies that every student can solve the problems that they received.  (Between their partner and themselves, this shouldn’t take long).  When they are good, they flip upright the cup, which signals to the teacher that they are ready.  These students will be considered the Master of their own card, and should be able to explain how to get to the answers.

Once all the cups are upright, the the teacher rings a bell, or asks the “Seat” students to move.  So in our example above,  Bob South, Susie South, and Linus South move to the next table.  (Make sure to remove all backpacks from the area so that it’s easier to rotate).  The North “Table” students will remain in at their seat.  So now, Jim will work with who ever the seat “south” student sat prior to his “table”. Sarah will work with Bob, and Lina will work with Susie. Linus will work with whomever “Table 4” student is. They turn their cups upside down, switch cards, do the problems, and check their work.  If they have questions, they can ask the opposite student who is the Master of his own card. When both students have the correct answers, the cups are turned upright, and the teacher sees that students are ready to rotate (again, the “Seat” students will always move…  the “Table” students remain)….

Below are pictures of the problems with answers and the cards with answers are written on the back


So, thanks to SumMathMadness and Kate Nowak for this idea!

Week 3 Taking Note of Exponents

beethoven-5Week three was busy with tests and exponents for both Math 8 and Algebra 1.  Explanations of exponents just can’t be done without students seeking out the patterns of numbers, esp how powers of ten grow and decrease and also powers of 2.  In our interactive notebooks, we took notes listing our patterns.  We watched the Powers of 10 by Charles and Ray Eames…an oldie but a goody.  Stopping half way to discuss positive exponents and the next day discussing negative exponents.  Then we jumped into scientific notation as well.

So yesterday, the students walked into Beethoven’s 5th playing in the class.  We reviewed our patterns of exponents, and then went into discussing powers of 2.  Remember we had discussed Raja Rice a while back listing powers of 2 (positive). So we went the other direction discussing the negative exponents and their values.  And then I mention how much I wish the orchestra and band teachers could rewrite the musical notes using exponents.  (with a wink of course).   We look at the first couple measures of Beethoven’s 5th and discuss how the exponents apply to the beats of the notes  (changed it to 4/4 time to make more sense).  (insert picture here)   At the end of the class, I continued the masterpiece as they worked on their assignment….  no one mentioned the music…  I may try a little Vivaldi next week.  🙂

Can’t forget that we also discovered “Anything to the power of zero is 1” again by using patterns.  I keep asking the cheerleaders to cheer CMS and holding up their hand as a zero..  “CMS to the zero power!  We’re number 1!”….   And I expect those football players to raise their arm and make a 0 with their hand after scoring a touchdown!…  no one’s taken me up on that yet…  (wink wink).    cms-0

If there’s anything I’ve worked at this so far is wait time, and asking the students to talk to their “shoulder partner” prior to giving out an answer.  I LOVE it!  Let those proverbial crickets chirp while their thinking… there’s more going on than just silence after a question.





Week 2 – The Week is Right!


Well, here today, on Monday, I labor reflecting on how week two has gone.   The week has gone well.  The kids are settling into the way the class operates.  I’m starting to figure out how they operate as well.

The Price is Right

Price is rightAlgebra 1 and Inequalities

After success with having students choice in equation reviews, we’ve jumped into inequalities.  I’ve always wanted to use the Range Game from the Price is right to work through inequality problems (even if there’s an absolute value to discuss).  Of course these days, when hands went up, only about 5 or 6 out of 25 kids in each class had ever seen the show.  A quick explanation, and we were on the way to watch the segment of one of my favorite games.    Game Show intro    At the end,  the contestant loses, but a few really understand the gist of the game. So I told them that they’d have a chance to view another Range Game episode at the end of the notes.   So after reviewing a couple notes (they had watched the flipped lesson on this topic the previous night), we were able to view   Game Show #2  This clip is great.  Kids were cheering him on, saying things like, “that’s not fair”, “they’ve gotta give it to him!”, and finally cheers at the end.  The equation?  |8365-x|<150 .   The 8365 is the actual price, and the x is the range that is within $150 in either direction of the the price. And to complete the talk, I mention how in coding this equation would cause the computer to light up green.   If it was outside the range, the computer would light up the price in red.

Hanging out the Numbers on Lines

In Math8 we covered those infamous Real Number Systems.   I was inspired to use “clothes lines” from Andrew Stadel  We used time in class to discuss where numbers were to go.  Starting off with -2, 0, and 3, I have three kids put those up on the chain which stretches from one end of the board to the other.  And yes, in one class’s that first group placed them all on the left side of the board…  Gently we “suggested and questioned” that they should be spread out more. Finally a student who struggled to sit still, placed them accurately along the entire 10+ feet clothes line/chain.  We then added four numbers at a time, and discussed them along the way until every student had added his/her own numbers to the line – lots of fractions, some decimals, and of course pi!  I was pleased with how the talk went.

Squares and Dots  Area and Side Lengths

Imperfect Square   Perfect square

The next day we discussed squares and square roots.  In previous years, we would cut out these pictures and fold them, cut them, rearrange them in order to see how the area is constructed/counted.  Unfortunately, time ran too quickly and we skipped this important step.  So after a similar problem on our quiz, I’ll be reviewing this with those who need a bit more hands on activity to really grasp the area concept.

So, now a three day “vacation” comes to an end…  But it’s great to have a moment to breathe, think about the next steps and jump in to the fall and the lessons.