Monday, August 6, 2012

WEEK 1: 'Words into Math' Block Game | #made4math

In keeping with my Week 1 emphasis in Algebra 1 on activating prior knowledge of how to translate words into mathematical expressions, equations, or inequalities (or at least gelling some of it back into place), I've also created a "Block" game for practicing 'Words into Math' in my Algebra 1 classes. There are two levels of game cards that correspond to Lessons 1.3 and 1.4 in McDougall Littell Algebra 1 California edition (for those of you playing along at home).


This is a variation on Maria Anderson's wonderful, tic-tac-toe-style "blocking games" (Antiderivative Block, Factor Pair Block, and Exponent Block — using her generic gameboard, rules, and my own game cards for each of these first three games of hers on her web site).

The game can be played in any number of ways — either competitive or collaborative. Students can compete against each other — tic-tac-toe style — to get four of their counters in a row. Or they can simply take turns choosing the problem and working on solving each problem on the whole board.

I've created two levels of "Words into Math Block": Level 1 (purple problem cards) and Level 2 (green problem cards). I use Maria's generic PDF gameboard and print or copy them on colored cardstock or paper. I have learned the hard way to give each level its own color ID as soon as I create the game cards so I can easily recreate the card sets later whenever I need to.

I allow students to use whatever resources they need to during practice activities, so I expect to see those nifty Troublesome Phrase Translator slider sleeves flying during these two days. :-)

All of my materials, plus the photo above (in case you need a model) are on the Math Teacher Wiki.

Students really love these block games! I have a bunch of different "counters" that they can use as their game board markers: little stars (Woodsies from Michael's), circles, and hearts, colorful foam planet/star clusters, and various kinds of beans.

I'm hoping to get my students to be less flummoxed by mathematical language by giving them practice in using it early and often. Enjoy!

16 comments:

  1. That looks great! I'm definitely stealing this!

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  2. I am psyched to find your website!! I'm a MS math teacher teaching Algebra I so I'm tickled with the totally awesome ideas you are sharing. :-) I use Holt so I'll only need to tweak a bit (sweet!). p.s. Thanks for thoughtfully sharing your ideas freely...we appreciate it!

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  3. I use the anti derivative block game with Leibniz and Newton counters <33332

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    1. Bowman-

      You are so funny. :-D

      - Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)

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  4. I have never heard of this block game. How do you play or am I skipping over something?

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  5. Thanks for sharing
    I can't find it on the math teacher wiki

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  6. There are links built in above to Maria Anderson's "Block" games pages (start with http://busynessgirl.com/exponent-block-and-factor-pair-block/ ). While she freely shares her work, I did not wish to overstep by claiming her instructions as my own.

    If you roll your cursor over the text in the paragraph where I give the names of my various pieces and components, you'll find the links as you go. Just in case, here they are again:

    Maria Anderson Block Games
    http://busynessgirl.com/exponent-block-and-factor-pair-block/

    Maria's generic game board:
    http://teachingcollegemath.com/files/games/block_gameboard.pdf

    My own Level 1 problems:
    http://msmathwiki.pbworks.com/w/file/56596685/1-3%20Words%20into%20Math%20Block%20game%20cards%20LEVEL%201%20double-sided-PURPLE.pdf

    My own Level 2 problems:
    http://msmathwiki.pbworks.com/w/file/56596686/1-4%20Words%20into%20Math%20Block%20game%20cards%20LEVEL%202%20double-sided-GREEN.pdf

    Let me know if you need more help finding these!

    - Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)

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  7. this sounds great and i'd like to try it in class on monday. i've looked at all the links but i am having trouble figuring out the rules for the game. can you describe them? thanks!

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    1. It's basically just Tic-Tac-Toe. Each player chooses a question on a space that they'd like to occupy. Both players work the problem on that question card. If the chooser, Player 1, gets it correct, s/he wins that round and puts his/her counter on that space.

      Then Player 2 chooses a problem, trying to "block" Player 1's progress and make his/her own progress. Both players work the problem. If Player 2 gets it correct, s/he wins that round and puts his/her counter on that space.

      Play continues until one player gets four spaces in a row.

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  8. Thanks for freely sharing your ideas. I used to teach elementary and have so much colored card stock! I'll be putting it to good use.

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  9. How do students know if they got the correct or incorrect answer?

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    Replies
    1. The cards are double-sided. Students flip over the card to view the answer.

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  10. Hey this blog post is amazing, but i am not cleared with the rules.

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    1. Maria's own original instructions are the clearest:

      http://teachingcollegemath.com/files/games/factor_pair_block.pdf

      Partners take turns declaring the answer to a problem. This determines who "takes" the square on the board. The objective is to rack up four squares in a row (kind of like Tic-Tac-Toe).

      Enjoy!

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  11. This activity looks like it has potential with my fifth grade group. I'm glad I came across your blog via a #MTBoS tweet. Thanks for freely sharing your ideas and resources.

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  12. Just stumbled across your blog from a link on Math Teachers at Play. My twins are heading into middle school math, and you have a lot of great posts I think we'll be able to use! :)

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