Friday, September 14, 2012

The Tile FACTORy Results - Factoring Trinomials

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a game that I created called the Tile FACTORy.  You can read about that here.


Monday:

On Monday I reviewed factoring trinomials where the lead coefficient is 1.  My initial thought was to skip the game, because so many of the students seemed to know what they were doing.


Tuesday:

On Tuesday I started class with a pre-test.  You can see that here.
The students were very confused about the first question, so I did an example with them.  I also explained that each of the those numbers are written on a card, therefore if you use the number 4 in one place, it can't be used in another.
The example I gave them was    x^2 + -4x + 4 because that can be factored to (x - 2)(x - 2).

The pre-test is broken down like this:
part 1 - create a factorable trinomial
part 2 - multiple choice factoring problems
part 3 - open-ended factoring problems


Next, we started to play the game.  The rules are confusing.  I don't know how to write them better, so if you have a clue, please pass that along to me.

By the end of class, the students were starting the get the hang of the game.

Wednesday:

I allowed students to play the game almost the whole period.  We played in groups for 20 minutes, then the winners of each group played together to have a class champion.

Last 10 minutes of class I asked students what they thought about the game.

Thursday:

The students took the post-test.  You can see that here.
I had to stop some students because they would have spent the entire period trying to come up with factorable trinomials.

I continued with the curriculum for the rest of the period.

The Quantitative Results:

Here is the google doc if you want to poke around.

For part 1 of the pre- and post- tests.  On average my students could create 3.3 factorable trinomials with the given numbers.  But by the time they took the post-test on average, they could create 6.4.  I think this is huge.  That's almost double of what they could do to start with.  

For parts 2 and 3 of the tests they increased by a little more than half a question (0.65).  The biggest reason is that most students got them all right on the pre-test and had no room for improvement (hence my thought at the beginning of the week to not play the game at all).  

However, not everyone increased their scores on both parts, although the majority did.  
For the first part where they created the trinomial, out of 40 students, 35 were able to increase how many they created and 5 of them actually created less.  

For the second and third parts of the test:  15 increased, 6 decreased, and 19 stayed the same.  One student went from only getting 1 correct to getting all 8 correct (student #29. success right there!).


My Thoughts:

Like I said, on Monday I wasn't even sure I wanted them to play the game.  However, now that I see these results, I'm glad I did.  The average percent correct when they answered parts 2 and 3 went from 88% (not bad) up to 96% (awesome).  Plus, as I walked around the room, I heard really great conversations about the trinomials they were creating.  I saw students helping each other create and factor.  

The Students' Thoughts or Qualitative Results:

"I thought the game was fun and helped me understand factoring better."
"I didn't like it at first, but by the end of today I realized I started to factor faster and more easily.  I'd like to play it again."
"Helped me a lot. Got me thinking. Was not a bad game to play."
"Truthfully, I didn't really like this game.  I don't think it helped me with factoring.  I think it was actually harder than factoring."
"I liked the game once I understood it.  After I got it, it was fun and I wanna do it again."
"BEST GAME I'VE EVER PLAYED!  AND IT HELPED AND I LOOK FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAIN."
"The game was kind of slow moving.  The factoring part of the game is what killed it, but it helped me understand factoring even though I got a headache from thinking."
"The game was fine, but the rules were complicated."
"The game itself was not personally helpful.  It seemed as though other students benefited though.  It is a fun and enjoyable game as far as math games go."
"I feel that the game helped a little bit, and it was fun.  I could tell it helped the people I was playing with.  I need to play a bit more to understand it fully."
"I didn't like the game because I just didn't get the concept.  The rules were a little confusing so it took me a couple of rounds to get the idea."
"I like the game.  I thought it was fun and it really helped me understand how to do it.  And now I get it because before I didn't get it.  And I also think that we should play it again."


Next Time:

I am going to rewrite those rules before I play again with students.  Maybe I'll even create a video of the game in action that they need to watch before we play in class.  




Update:

Since a few of my students told me how confusing the rules were, I tried to rewrite them.  Here is the new rules set.

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