Thursday, December 13, 2012

Minute to Win It Math Circuits

I'm supposed to be planning for a grade 8 manipulative workshop I'm holding in January so I've been researching hands-on/student centered ways to guide student learning. The problem always ends up that I find all these fabulous blogs that I immerse myself in reading and I get totally off topic. But, that's also a good thing, right? I am totally immersed in reading fabulous blogs! Well, today I came across Reflections of a High School Math Teacher and couldn't stop reading.

At this moment, my favorite entry is Minute to Win It Circuits...Move and Learn.  Here's an overview of the activity:

He set up 5 stations around the class, allowing for two groups at each station at once.  Which means, of course, that there was actually two copies of each station.

Station 1:

  • Math problem written very large on a full sheet of paper.  "Write the phrase as a power and then evaluate.  four to the third power."
  • Cut up the paper into 6 equal pieces (approximately 3x3).
  • Randomize and clip together.
  • Make sure there are two sets of this problem at the station.  One for group 1 and one for group 2.
Station 2-5:  Same idea.  Different problems.

  • Groups are assigned to stations.
  • Set timer for 1 minute.
  • Partners work together to unscramble the pieces and then solve the problem.
  • Write answer down on paper.
  • Check answer based on answer provided at station.
  • After minute is over, they rotate, moving to the next station.
In the comments, someone (A. Nonymous) shared that he/she puts the answer to the problem they completed at the NEXT station.

I think this is very cool!  If you have 5 stations your time would be 
  • 1 min to work
  • 15 seconds to clean up
  • 15 seconds to move to the next station
Total time used:  7.5 minutes.

I'm throwing out some ideas here for implementing in my own classroom (when I return back to the class).  
  • What if I had students show work and write answers on index cards (or regular paper) and at the end of the minute, they put answer in container and move on.  Then I've collected it.
  • make sure they remembered name, I could number papers and assign students numbers.  Give all students a "booklet" of papers with their number on it ahead of time.  They answer, rip of paper and put in container.
  • Answer provided at next station (as per A. Nonymous).  They would have to switch stations quickly to get time to read answer.
  • Focus each question on an outcome I am specificially assessing.  But then each students would have to work individually.  Still would work.  More question sets at each station then.  Don't think I'd want to do more than 5 stations for time.
  • Could have some stations as "group" effort.  Find a partner at the station you're at and answer the following.  Write partner's name on bottom of paper.
We'll see which ideas I actually keep when it comes down to it.

I love, Love, LOVE this idea and hope that I don't forget about it when it comes down to actually trying the activity.  Maybe I'll even have the Grade 8 teachers who are attending my session in January attempt something like this.  Ooooh....brainwave!  <evil laugh>

If you try this, I would love to hear how it goes, what questions you used, what course you tried it in.  What worked.  What didn't.  Anything and everything (except what you had for lunch).