Thursday, February 26, 2015

Linear Equation Card Sort - Day 1

Here is a link to the file:  Linear Equation Card Sort.

I started this card sort with my students yesterday and I always seem to forget that card sorting is a learned skill.  The students don't easily understand how this works.

I put students into pairs and gave each pair a set of laminated cards.  The laminating works well, so that students can write on them with dry-erase markers, then easily erase so that I can reuse them.

I started by asking the students to sort the 35 cards into 5 'logical' piles.  If I saw that a groups was struggling (some students just created 5 random piles), I would ask them to name each pile.  Groups that were using some type of logic were able to name piles such as graphs, intercepts, etc.

Once I felt that all students were done sorting the 5 piles, I gave them the paper with the headings: Slope-Intercept, Standard Form, Table, Intercepts, and Graphs.  I asked the students to physically place their cards on the paper under the column heading that matched that pile.
I needed students to do this, because in the past when I have done this card sort students starting writing numbers in the chart willy-nilly.

At this point I would love for student to individually pick two piles they want to match.  But in attempt to save my sanity, we decided as a class which to pile to match.  Interesting enough, both classes I did this with, picked the slope-intercepts and tables.  I asked the student to put the other piles to the side and not worry about them for now.  

Within these two piles there are two cards that have some blanks on them.  The #2 card and the #13 card.  I ask the students to match the cards and determine the missing pieces of information on the cards if they can.  Again, the students can write on the cards with dry-erase.  

At this point, many of my students were unable to determine the blanks for card #2.  I told them not to worry, as we match more cards, they will find a way to do this.  

That was the end of day 1.  Yes, an entire class period to match 7 cards.  

Stay tuned for day 2..


  1. Hi! I used this card set a month or so ago -- thanks! I was just cleaning up some bookmarks and remembered I never made this suggestion:

    Card 2 is meant to prompt students for a fractional coefficient for the x term, but it looked to all of us like -x, which caused some confusion. It would be somewhat clearer to use hollow boxes for the fraction's numerator and denominator.

    1. Yes, I realized that too, when I did it with my students. I will have to fix that.