Thursday, March 31, 2016

GCF of Polynomials - Let the Students Create the Problems

I'm about to start factoring with my Algebra 1 students and I wanted to start with GCF of polynomials.  Do you know how hard it is to find a worksheet on GCF of polynomials.  Even the pathetic textbook collecting dust on my shelf has no practice problems for this.  I thought, "Well, I better buckle down and start creating these problems."  But then I had a better thought, "Let the students create the problems."

I teach this class twice a day and before I had my epiphany, I taught the first one (2nd Period).  I'm certain their lack of understand influenced my epiphany.  So, period 2 suffered through countless problems on, while I suffered through countless complaints about how hard it was.

Insert great idea.

Now it's period 4's turn.  I gave each student two index cards and instructed them to write their names at the top of each one.  Then I wrote this on the board and asked the students to write a monomial in each box.

Next they needed to distribute the problems (something they are proficient in).

Once I collected the cards, I told the students that we would now be working backwards.  I was going to write the "answer" from the index card on the board and they would have to figure out the "question".  This went much better than the other class and here's why I think that happened: For one, the students created the questions and this gave them ownership of the lesson (they especially like to know who's problem they were solving); also, the students were able to see where the problems came from, and that they weren't just plucked from the air.  This wasn't just another rule to learn like Period 2 seemed to believe.

Now I have more problems than I know what to do with.  These problems will become the review problems and the test problems.  All created by the students.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Play Bounty Hunter on Desmos

I'm very excited to tell you that you can now play Bounty Hunter on Desmos.  Bounty Hunter was created to help students determine the slope of lines.  I created a digital replica of the board and game pieces, but please note that it is not a video game.  The digital board only includes the things that all players can see, it does not include the individual player's hands.  You will still need to create the cards (index cards work great).  So, instead of students sitting around a board, they will sit around a computer.

Why digital?

  • Not all games end when the bell rings.  With this game on desmos, students can save their game and continue at a later time, rather than having to put all the pieces back in the box.
  • For some reason, this game board gets knocked around a lot and the pieces go everywhere.  Not with digital.
  • It's cheap and fast and little.  No materials to buy, no materials to create, and no classroom storage space needed (other than the cards).

Here is the link to the game.

A video explaining the set up and what all the stuff is:


A list of the cards you will need to make.

Total of 52 cards
15 cards with "1" written on them
15 of "2"
10 of "3"
8 of "4"
4 of "5"

Again, the cards don't have to be anything fancy, index cards will do.

A video of game play:

I forgot to mention in the video, that the Bounty Hunters (green and orange) may not land on the the jewel thieves' spawn spaces (blue and red).