Thursday, September 2, 2010

I *heart* Activities!

This year has already had some ups and downs, but I'm enjoying it so far. We have new textbooks, which is always a challenge, but since this is my 2nd year in Algebra 2, I'm feeling more confident in my ability to try new things.

Last week, we taught two lessons. One was on domain and range and whether something was a function. Sunday night before I was to teach it, I got a brainstorm of an activity and immediately messaged Neighbor Teacher about the idea. I love working with Neighbor Teacher because she is always willing to try my harebrained ideas :) We often tease that if we could just meld our minds into one, we'd be unstoppable! Anyway, we got together after school on Monday to brainstorm and I had a stash of Graph Paper index cards. We ended up making 6 sets of domain/range cards for us to use in our classes the next day. For each card, the kids had to figure out the domain, the range, and whether it was a function. It went very well! Here's a picture of the cards:

The next lesson was about standard form and x/y intercepts. Years ago, we used to teach an activity based algebra lab class, so we started digging through those card games, etc and low and behold, we had a matching game for standard form, graphs, and intercepts. So again, we put the kids in groups and had them match them up. It's great to hear the kids talking math!!!

This week was our first test in Algebra 2. All of the concepts we had quizzed on were on the test. The kids had their quizzes back, had opportunties to reassess, etc. I was determined NOT to do a test review worksheet because I want the kids to learn how to study based on their personal weaknesses, not just regurgitate a test review. I encouraged them to make a practice test from the level 2 questions on their quizzes. I told them to work the homework problems from their weak areas, etc. Again, Neighbor Teacher and I brainstormed how to review and she came up with the idea of practice cards per learning target. So last weekend, I made 3 cards per Learning Target, each with 3 questions on it. I made 2 complete sets of these cards and the kids really seemed to like the targeted review. See a sample of the cards here:

Of course, the title of this blog is "Teaching Statistics", so I suppose I should share an activity from there too :) This next week, we will be covering Contingency Tables and Marginal/Conditional Distributions. I got yet another brainstorm last week while driving home and when I got home, I just had to type it up :) I am really trying to reduce my "talking time" more and more each year and make things as self-guided as I can. A friend of mine field tested it today, but I haven't heard yet how it went, so use with caution :) It can't be that bad - it's an M&M Lab for goodness sake! heheh So click here for the activity :)

We have staff development tomorrow then off for a mini-vacay with the fam - I'm hoping to have more brainstorms and more to share with you when I get back! Until then, have a happy and safe holiday weekend!


KFouss said...

I've never seen graph paper index cards! Where'd you get them? I'll have to go looking.

I love the domain/range/function cards. Will definitely be making some for when we hit that chapter (which won't be too far away!). Thanks for the idea!

MizT said...

I found them last year at the Back to School sale at Office Depot. I bought them because I thought they were so cool and then never used them :) Now I need more!!!

Last year, we had noticed that the kids REALLY struggled with domain/range given a graph, so this was a great way to make them think! Definitely a keeper :)

KFouss said...

I think we have one of those close to school. Guess I'll go looking tomorrow! :)

Oh, and I forgot to say that I LOVE that you laminated them. I'm a big fan of the laminator.

praxisofreflection said...

I am totally stealing the M&M activity. My trig & calc students are both wrapping up reviews of functions, so the index card idea I will have to save for later. Thanks for sharing! :)

jsz said...

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog: full of useful ideas. We have recently put up our new version of "Statistics for the Terrified", and would be really interested in any comments you may have. It is aimed at a slightly higher age range, but any thoughts would be most welcome! You can get a demo or evaluation copy from

Lisa said...

Somewhere in my wanderings I think I read a comment that you had a digital copy of these. Is that true and are they posted somewhere?