Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making Pre-Made Bingo Boards

Who doesn't love Bingo?  My students love anything Bingo, and it's a game that we play about once a month.  One thing I don't like about most Bingo games is having students make their boards by randomly writing the answers in the spaces.  I think it's a waste of time, they mess it up and ask for another one, and overall it just goes a whole lot better if I just make them ahead of time!  Since I do these so often, I have it down to a mad science.  Here's what you need:

1) Create a template with 30 5x5 boards.  Letter the first one in order (A-Y), then randomly scramble the rest of the boards with the letters.  I put a "Z" at the top that will eventually become my title to the game.  My template took me some time to create, mainly because I had to individually type in the letters, and I'm just super picky with making it look perfect!  Here is what my template looks like:

You can create your own, if you'd like to save some time, you can check out mine here!

2) Now, I am going to use my Pythagorean Theorem game example to show how I turned these letters into the answers.  Click "Replace" in the upper right corner.   In the "Find what" field, type in 'A', then type your answer to your first game question, for example the answer to my first question of my Pythagorean Theorem game is 8.9, so I typed 8.9 into the "Replace with" field.  Then click "Replace All"

Microsoft Word will tell you that it made 30 replacements.  So all A's are now 8.9.  Click Ok.
3)  Do the same process for B through Y. 

 4)  Now for the game title.  Just do the same process with the "Replace" function.  Replace "Z" with the name of your game, in my case "Pythagorean Theorem Bingo!"

Then you are done!  You now have 30 individual boards to play bingo! 
The final product will look like this:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Exponent Rules Koosh!

Now that my students know product, power and quotient rule, I introduced them to the negative exponent rule today.  It went over really well.  I have them follow the exact rules above to simplify everything, then move any variable with a negative exponent to the denominator at the end of the problem.  Once I was confident that they had that concept down, it was game time!!  I made this Koosh Ball game about 4 years ago and play it every year.  The kids LOVE it.

I pulled two desks to the front and played girls vs. boys today.  They always enjoy that! 

I've had this Koosh ball for years. You can find them at most any store.

Then, just throw the ball at the Smart Board!  (Or whatever interactive whiteboard you have.)

When it hits the board, it will link to that problem.

The circles disappear after they have been hit, so there are no repeats.

The students have a worksheet to write the problems down and simplify them.

I only let them throw the ball if they write down and show all their work. 
That works like a charm because they all want to throw the ball. 
Lots of fun, and lots of math.  A win-win!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I "Heart" Scavenger Hunts!

Today I taught power and quotient rule of exponents (I did product rule the other day).  I wasn't ready to introduce negative exponents just yet because I didn't want it to be information overload- so I'll be doing that on Thursday/Friday this week.  I'm on block schedule and always looking for activites that give them a chance to get out of their seats.  I do scavenger hunts about once in awhile and LOVE them.  I figured this would be a good topic for it.  Scavenger hunts are a great way  for students to cover many objectives and let students check their answers as they go.  I also hear a lot of math discussion between students and less "Mrs. Wilson how do I do this?"

I created 12 problems in which the answer to one problem leads to the next problem.  I put them on pink paper in honor of Valentine's Day this week!  I also made a worksheet for them to be able to write down and simplfy the expressions as they worked through the activity.

I posted the 12 problems throughout my room and in the hallway:

I love this trapezoid problem!

I put them in groups of 2-3 and assigned them each a place to start.  The entire activity took approximately 30 minutes and they all understood their exponent rules by the end.  Victory!  Here is a picture of one of my students' paper once she had finished:

I'll be covering negative exponents then reviewing all the rules next class with a Koosh Ball game.  We decided to rename this unit "Exponent Extravaganza!" :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

My First!

Horray for my first blog post!  I'm so excited to enter the blogging world and be able to share and connect with fellow teachers.  My plan is to write and reflect about lessons, ideas, and strategies that I use within my classroom. For my first post though, I thought I would introduce myself!

I am orginally from Orchard Park, NY, which just outside of Buffalo.  I grew up a HUGE Buffalo Bills fan, and I am proud to still be one today.  I went to Brockport State University (near Rochester, NY) and graduated in 2006 with a degree in Mathematics, Education, and Computer Science.  My college boyfriend moved to Virginia Beach, so I followed him down here as soon as I graduated.  We got married in August 2007, and now have two boys- Jacob (age 3) and Logan (age 1).

I have taught Algebra, Honors Algebra, and Pre-Algebra for the past seven years at Great Neck Middle School.  I absolutely love it!  We were lucky enough to move into a brand new school last January.  Here is a picture of my classroom:

We can't hang anything on the walls while the building is under warranty, so it looks a little plain.  Actually, the weekend we moved into our new building happened to be one week before my son was born.  So I really didn't do much with decorating at that time.  It is a bit more snazzed up now though!  Those desks are SO GREAT- I can group them into 2's, 3's, and 4's so easily.  I love the triangles!

That's all for now!