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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Speed Dating in Math Class

I was sitting in my observation classroom of Trevor Kuzee 7th grade math class. He told his students if they did everything today, they could do a game of speeding dating at the end of the day to review for the up coming quiz. All of the 7th grades became very excited for speeding dating, while i was thinking in my head: "Why in the world is he doing speed dating in his 7th grade classroom? What does this have to do with math?"

As the students finished their final practice quizzes on the computer, Trevor started passing out the papers for speed dating and of course he hands one to me. The sheet is not a questionnaire to fill out but 20 different math problems about what they went over in class for the day. He told his students that I would be included in the speed dating round and who is able to explain the game. 

Here is how the game goes: 

Speed Dating
1. timer 
2. worksheet of math problems able to do within a set time 
3. pencils 

How To Play: 
1) As a class figure out what side of the table will be moving while the other side sits in place
2) Tell the students how long they have to work on the problem (ours was one minute)*
3) tell the students the number to work on (Trevor jumper around the page so they were not going in order) 
4) the students will work on the problem, and if they need help they can ask their "date" for help
5) when the time is up: call on a student to give the answer to the question they worked on 
6) change seats!
7) repeat 

*for harder problems allow more time for the students

Students thinking 
This game was a great way to see the student's thinking in action. I noticed some students did the whole worksheet in a couple of rounds and then just went desk to desk helping their "dates" with the problems if they needed it. I also noticed some students struggled with simple addition and subtraction of negative numbers and they used algebra titles on the side of the paper to help their thinking processes. I also helped a couple of students who though they had the correct answer but then told them to rethink the problem and they found their mistakes. This game also allows immediate feedback on the students work. They know whether they have the answer right or wrong because they have a partner who can confirm the answer and the also have a student telling the whole class what the answer should be. 

This is a great review game to use for students of any age for any type of Math class! Thank you Trevor for using this game the day I came in and observed! 

Monday, February 2, 2015


Most middle school students cringe at the word "fractions". The do not fully understand the world of fractions and what it has to offer the mathematical community. The operations of fractions are hard to understand and the students just have to remember the rules of fractions.

We do not want the students repeat the rules, but apply the rules to real fractions. No middle school students like to sit at their desk all day and use a pencil and paper to solve equation after equation of fractions applying the rules, but to get up and move around. 

As I was suffering the internet to come up with some ideas for games that could use the operations of fractions, I came across this blog post from a teacher who applied a great game for her students to review fraction operations. Fractionopoly

This game could be applied at the end of a lesson in which the students know the operations. This is a great tool in which the students can work at their own pace, but also need to remember the rules to solve the equations quickly. 

You can also apply this game to earlier/later lessons in the year with addition, subtraction, multiplication of integer and decimals. 

I was thinking of a game that had to do with fractions with a simple 52 card deck. 

Fractional War

object of the game: the students will be able to recognize what fractions (mixed and non-mixed) is the smallest. 

1. a deck of cards for each pair of students 

How to play: 
1. Each player will turn over two cards. 
       The first card will be the numerator. 
        The second card will be the denominator.
2. The player with the smallest simple fraction wins that hand. 
3. The player who collects all the cards wins! 

1. The fractions will have to be reduced to the simplest fraction. 
Example: If student #1 has 3/9 and student #2 has 6/12. Then student #1 wins because 3/9 is reduce-able to 1/3 which is smaller than 1/2. 

2. If there is a tie with the fractions: have the students draw another two cards. Whoever wins between the new two cards wins all the cards in that hand. 

A teacher could create new cards with all the operation signs on them. The students would first have to flip one of those up before they flip up their two cards. What ever the operation is, the students would have to do that operation with the two fractions that they created. Whoever comes up with an answer has to hit the table and say the answer. If the answer is correct, they win that hand! 

How do you know a game is good or bad for the concept you would like to teach?
I believe a math game should be able to connects many of the common core standards all into a single game. Also, a game can be built upon to new ideas and concepts. A game will have the students discover different ideas about one concept and then they are able to remember how they came up with ideas because they had a fun and interactive way of discovering the ideas. I believe good games should be open ended. What do I mean about "open ended"? The students are not looking for one answer and check to see if that is the answer the teacher got, but they are able to get different answers by going through the game in many directions. All games are fun to students even if you are a senior in high school. The students will remember more if they discovered it on their own in a fun away.