FREE Interactive Review Game for any Grade or Subject

Wow – this year has been crazy!  I have been incredibly busy both in school and out, which is why I haven’t written in sooo long, but since my blog posts about the “Attack” review game I play with my classes continue to be some of my most viewed posts, I thought I’d write a quick post about the new, FREE Interactive version of the game!

For those of you who haven’t read my posts about the old-school version of the game, the premise is simple.  Each team has a castle.  Ask a review question and pick a group to answer.  If they get the question right, they get to attack a couple of the other teams’ castles.  If they get it wrong, I attack their castle.  After 5 attacks, a castle is eliminated, but that team is still in the game – (They can still attack other castles to get revenge!)  The last castle standing is the winner.

The game is a HUGE hit in every class I have ever played in and I have heard from over 100 other teachers that the same is true for their classes….and now it’s even better with the brand new interactive version!

For the interactive version, each team has a sand castle.  You can attack a castle by clicking on the screen when a plane holding a bucket of water is flying above the sand castle you want to attack.  (If you have an interactive whiteboard that supports touch you could even have students throw a koosh ball at the board instead of clicking to carry out the attacks!)  Teams also have the option of rebuilding their castle instead of attacking another sand castle when they get a question right.

The FREE version of the game has all of the features of the full game, but allows only 2 teams.  The full game offers the option to play with up to 5 teams.

If you try out the game with your students, please let me know what you think of it!  I hope your students enjoy it as much as mine do!!

(I am really hoping that I can find the time to blog more regularly this Spring, too, so I hope to be back soon with another post!)

Thanks for reading,

Christina

 

 

 

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Math Races – turning boring practice problems into fun activities

Yikes!  I’ve been back in school for 3 weeks now and this is the first time I am blogging!  I am going to do my best to be better about it going forward…but no promises 🙂

I have already completed my first units in all of my classes and am now working on my second units.  In my next few posts I am going to share some of the lessons I have done so far this year, but right now I am going to share what I did today in my 7th grade Pre-Algebra class because it went SOO well!!

race-math-activity

I am working on rational number operations with my pre-algebra class this unit (positive & negative fractions and mixed numbers).  Yesterday I did adding & subtracting negative fractions without whole numbers and today I did adding & subtracting negative mixed numbers.  I have noticed over the years that students tend to struggle with this lesson since there are so many things they have to remember: integer rules, finding common denominators, borrowing with mixed numbers, converting improper answers to mixed numbers, and simplifying fractions.  Because I know that this lesson gives students trouble I wanted to give my class lots of practice without boring them to death.

We started by going over the steps as a class and writing them down in their notebooks.  I then had students complete some problems on mini whiteboards, step by step.  Having them show me each step really helped me catch and address any issues early on in the problems.  I then had the class split up into groups of 2-3.  (While I often choose groups for my students, I allowed them to make their own groups for this particular activity).

I had a set of self-checking task cards on rational number addition & subtraction that I made a couple of years ago, where the answer to each card leads students to the next card they need to complete.  If they answer all 20 cards correctly, the last card they do will lead them back to the card they started with, making them completely self-checking.  In the past I have had students simply work through them in small groups, which works well, but this year I had the bright idea to turn it into a race…and it was AWESOME!

Here’s how I ran the activity:

I printed two copies of the cards (so there wouldn’t be an issue of students not being able to get the card they needed) and spread all the cards out on a table in the front of my classroom.  I gave each group one card to start with.  Students had to work in their groups to get the answer to the card.  Once they had an answer they all agreed on, one person in the group had to run their card back up to the table and find the next card.

adding-subtracting-rational-numbers-race-activity

I could not be happier with how this activity went!  The students were sooo into it.  They were all working, engaged, and talking with each other to figure out where they went wrong.  They all wanted to win the race (despite the fact that the only “prize” was a sticker!)  They got lots of practice since there were 20 different cards in all.  Best of all, I heard multiple students say that it was the best math class ever as they walked out of my room today, so that is definitely a win in my book! 🙂

If you want to make a self-checking activity that you could turn into a race like this, you just need to write questions on index cards.  Put the answer to each card on the top of the next card to create a “loop” of questions.  If you don’t want to make your own, I have several sets of self-checking task cards available in my TpT store that you can check out, including a free mini set on the order of operations.

order-of-ops-self-checking-task-cards-pic1

If you try a similar race activity with your class, I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading,

Christina

 

 

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New Review Game: Try it Free and Win the Game of your Choice

Claw Machine Game gif

I love playing games in my math classes! Here are just a few of the many benefits of good review games:

  • they are a great way to practice any type of skill
  • students love them
  • students are engaged
  • games encourage collaboration among students

I have found, though, that the key to keeping students engaged and enjoying games is to switch them up frequently.  No matter how fun a game may be the first few times you play it, the students will eventually get bored with it if it is the ONLY game you ever play with them.  Having a good variety of games to pull from really makes a difference in keeping up student enthusiasm and engagement levels.  Some of my go to games include Bingo, Jeopardy-style games, Attack, and standard whiteboard games, but I am always looking for new ones to add to the mix, which is why I teamed up with my husband again to create some new, fun interactive review games!

We thought it would be fun to bring some arcade-style fun into the classroom so we created a Claw Machine Review Game.  It can be played in teams or non-competitively.  (I tend to teach competitive students so I plan to use the team-mode with my classes).

negative fractions claw machine pic2

There are 5 different categories in a game, which are listed on little cards along the bottom of the claw machine.  The claw (crane?) moves back and forth in the machine.  Have a student either toss a koosh ball at the interactive whiteboard if you have one that supports touch or simply click with a mouse to stop the crane and pick up a card.  It will pull up a random card from the category it is in front of.  Have each group come up with an answer and then reveal the actual answer.  Award points to teams with correct answers and either subtract points or do nothing to teams with incorrect answers.  Once all questions from a category have been asked, the category card will disappear from the machine.

claw machine decimals pic3.160725013220

You can also adjust scores at any time by clicking the little +/- button on the bottom right-hand corner.  (One idea that could add to the competition/excitement would be to subtract points from a team that doesn’t successfully pull up a card when they toss the ball at the screen).

At the end of the game, the final team scores and standings are displayed.

claw machine decimals pic4.160725013220

You can play a full game for FREE to try it out to see if you like the idea & set-up of the game!  Just click on the picture below to play the free Demo Game.  (It should open in a new tab right in your browser).

claw machine demo game

If you try out the free Demo and think that you would like to play a claw machine game with your class this year, simply leave a comment telling me which of the 4 games listed below you would like to win.  On Monday, August 1st a random winner will be selected from everyone who leaves a comment and I will email the winner the game of their choice!  The choices of Claw Machine Games to win are:

  • Algebra Back to School Review (Includes: integer operations, evaluating expressions, simplifying algebraic expressions, properties, and writing expressions)
  • Decimal Operations (Includes: addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division of POSITIVE decimals, along with decimal word problems)
  • Solving Equations (Includes: one-step equations, two-step equations, equations with variables on both sides, multi-step equations, and writing & solving equations)
  • Operations with Negative Fractions (Includes: addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division of positive and negative fractions & mixed numbers, and comparing/ordering negative fractions)

(Click the pictures below for a closer look at each game.)

claw machine algebra back to school cover.160722013228.160725013219  claw machine decimals pic1.160725013220  equations claw machine cover.160722013229  negative fractions claw machine pic1

 

Here is a video preview of the Algebra Back to School Claw Machine Game:

UPDATE 8/1:  This giveaway has ended.  Since there were 9 entries I used a random number generator to select a number between 1 and 9 to choose a winner.  5 came up, so Lisa (the 5th person to comment) is the winner!  

Capture

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and for all the kind comments about the game.  If you’d like to purchase a claw machine game, they are on sale (along with all my other resources) today and tomorrow for 28% off with code BestYear.

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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Fun (Free) Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Middle School Math Classroom

With my school going from pre-k – 8th grade, I have always felt kind of bad for the “big kids” on Valentine’s Day because it is business for them as usual while the lower grades are having parties.  That’s why I always try to do something a little different than a normal math class, but still academic.  I thought I’d share a couple of the things I have done with my students on Valentine’s Day for other teachers who are looking for easy, free, no-prep ways to bring some holiday fun into their math classes.

valentines day math in the middle

I have shared before that I LOVE problem-solving and give my students word problems daily.  (You can read about my daily problem solving here).  On Valentine’s Day I use a set of Valentine’s word problems on fractions that I made a few years ago instead of the normal problem of the day.  (Download them free from my TpT store by clicking on the picture below).  The word problems are a great challenge because they combine two areas students typically struggle with – fractions and word problems.

valentine freebie pic2

I break the class into groups of 4 and have them work together on the problems.  I make it a contest – either the first group to get all the problems correct wins, or any group that gets at least 5 problems right within a set time limit wins, etc.  Students don’t necessarily love working on word problems (the understatement of the century), but working as a group and making it a contest definitely ups the fun-factor!

After the word problems, play a game of “Attack”, reviewing whatever concept you are currently studying.  On Valentine’s Day I have them draw hearts as the thing they are attacking and have them attack by drawing arrows on the hearts.  (If you missed my post explaining how to play, you can read it here – trust me, it’s worth the read because students absolutely LOVE this game!)

Finally, show your students some love by giving them a homework pass.  You can download mine free by clicking on the picture below.  (Write the student’s name on the 1st line and sign the 2nd line.)  Either give one to every student as a Valentine or use them as a prize for the groups that won the word problem race and “Attack” game.  (I use the point system of grading, and homework counts as 2 points a day in my class, so I personally allow my students to either use the homework pass to get credit on a night where they didn’t do their homework or they can turn it in at the end of the marking period for 2 extra credit points.)

hw pass pic

I hope you are able to use some of these ideas in your class.  Please feel free to share what you do to have fun with your students on Valentine’s Day in the comments below!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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Turn Multi-Step Problems into Team Activities

Let me start by saying that relays are not an original idea..maybe you have been doing them for years…but they are new to me, (and i love them) so I figured I’d share in case anyone else has never tried relays with their class.

team relays

How they work:
Take a problem that requires multiple steps to solve, and break it up into however many steps you need to solve the problem.   Then break your class up into groups that are the same size as the number of steps in a problem.

For example: Multi-Step Equations

I came up with the following 5 steps:

  • distribute to clear any parentheses in the problem
  • combine like terms within each side of the equation
  • add/subtract to isolate variable terms from constant terms
  • multiply/divide to solve for the variable
  • check by substituting answer in for variable

Since it is a 5 step process, I need to break the class up into groups of 5.  (If your class size doesn’t divide evenly by 5, you can make some groups of 4).

Give the class a problem, assign each student in a group a step of the process.  Student 1 completes the first step and passes it to student 2.  Student 2 checks student 1’s work and then does step 2, etc. until each student has completed a step and the problem has been solved (and checked.). For a group of 4, student 1 will also complete step 5.

multi-step equations team relay

Repeat this process 5 times with 5 different problems, each time shifting which student starts the problem, so that by the end every student has had a turn completing each step.

I love this activity because

  • The students work cooperatively, but individually
  • The students are checking each others’ work
  • Relays really emphasize each step in a process

Make it a race if your class is competitive.  If you want to see who completed each part you can have them write in different colors.  Either have them sit in a circle if you want them to be able to help each other complete their steps or have them sit in a row if you want it to be a silent activity.

Do you use relays in your class?  If you have any tips, suggestions, or other ideas for them please share in the comments below!

If you don’t want to make your own relay and are looking for a pre-made one, I have one on writing and graphing linear equations (using point-slope and slope-intercept form) available for sale in my TpT store, which you can get to by clicking the image below.  I am planning to make several others on different topics in the near future, as well.

writing and graphing linear equations team relay pic3

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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A Review Game That Students Love – ATTACK!

attack game

Today I am writing about my absolute favorite (and my students’ favorite) review game: Attack!  Let me start by listing the reasons I love this game:

  • It requires NO PREP
  • It requires NO MATERIALS (other than a chalkboard/whiteboard)
  • It can be used in ANY SUBJECT
  • It is easy to change up for different HOLIDAYS/SEASONS or ANYTIME
  • The students LOVE it!! They get very competitive
  • It’s FREE
  • It can be used with a WIDE RANGE of GRADE LEVELS. I have played with 5th graders – 9th graders and they have all loved it.

Here’s how you play:

Pick something that you want students to “attack”.  Since we are coming up on December, attack the snowman is a good one to play…

Break the class up into groups (any size works, but I usually make groups of 3 or 4).  Have one person from each group go to the chalkboard and draw a snowman.  (I give them exactly 60 seconds to complete their drawing so that we don’t waste a lot of time with this).  Then have them sit back with their group.

Ask the class a review question and have all groups work together to solve the question.  Then choose ONE group at random to answer the question.  If they get the question correct, they get to “attack” 3 different snowmen.  I just have them draw a snowball (circle or x) on the snowmen they are attacking.  If they get the question wrong, you attack their snowman by drawing a snowball on it and then give another group a chance to answer that question.

Then ask another question and pick a different group to answer and repeat…

Once a snowman is attacked 5 times, it is “destroyed” (erased), but that team is still in the game so if they get a question right they can still attack other groups’ snowmen and get revenge. J

When you get to the point where there are only a couple of snowmen remaining, only allow students to attack one snowman when they get a question right.

The last snowman standing is the winner!

attack snowmen.JPG

Try it out with your class – I have never had a class that didn’t love this game!  It’s easy to change up based on the amount of time you have….you can change how many snowmen they attack each time they answer correctly and how many hits until a snowman is out.  Every time I play I change up the “thing” they are attacking, too…I have played attack the turkey, reindeer, boat, castle, etc.

Want a printable version of the rules?  You can download the complete instructions & tips free by clicking on the picture below.

attack pic1

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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Interactive Noggle Game: Play a Round for Free and Chance to Win Full Game!

Last year my  husband (who is a software developer) and I created the interactive game Noggle that has been a big hit with teachers using it in their classroom!  My students absolutely love the game and from what I have heard from other teachers, their students do, too.  The problem with our original Noggle game, though, was that it was designed using macros in PowerPoint, which means that it didn’t work on all computers:  It didn’t work on Macs at all, it didn’t work on Windows 8, and some schools’ security settings didn’t allow the macros to run…

Sooo…my husband completely remade the game as an html file that does not use PowerPoint at all, and should run on ANY computer – PC, Mac, IPAD, etc!!  (You can now play Noggle with the whole class on a SMARTboard, interactive whitboard, or Mimio or set it up on classroom computers or IPADs as a center/station activity….this new version is very versatile!)

noggle new cover

In case you haven’t read  my earlier post on Noggle and have no idea what I’m talking about….Noggle is a math game that is a great way to practice operations with whole numbers, operations with integers, the order of operations, and the letter mode of the game can even be used in a Language Arts classroom to have students practice creating words.  You just click on the mode you want to play, and then a random board is generated.

noggle pic2

Here’s my “How to Play” Page explaining the game:

noggle pic4

The game opens in your browser, but can be played with or without an internet connection.  It has been tested in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 and up, Safari, Opera, and Firefox.  It was also successfully tested on an IPAD and android tablet.  However, the more the game is tested, the better!

That’s where you come into play…I want to give the game away FREE to 3 of my blog readers!!  In order to be eligible to win, all you need to do is try out the demo version of the game, and leave me a comment letting me know what type of computer you are on (PC, Mac, IPAD, etc), your operating system (Windows 8, Vista, etc.), what browser you are using (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Opera), and how the demo game runs for you.  Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments/questions about the game, or how many expressions you were able to come up with, as well.  (I found 13 expressions with an answer of 12 in the three minute time period)!

*****Click here to try out the demo version*****

Depending on your computer/browser the demo game will either just open automatically for you when clicked, or it will download to your computer.  Once it downloads you should be able to click on the download and have it open right up.  If it does not open automatically in your browser when clicked, right click on the downloaded file and go to “Open With” and then select the browser of your choice.

If you are on an older computer that does not have a supported browser, you can download one (such as Google Chrome) free online.  (https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/)

To enter my giveaway for the full version of my Noggle Interactive Game, simply leave a comment below stating: type of computer, operating system, browser, how demo runs, (and optional comments/questions/etc).  I will email the full game to the winners, so be sure to leave an email address when filling out the comments form.  3 winners will be randomly selected  on 10/26/15.

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina


 

UPDATE 10/26:  This giveaway has ended.  Thank you to everyone who tested out the demo and left me a comment!  

THE WINNERS ARE:

  • Jessi W
  • V Fuller
  • J Rousselle

 

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Games in the Math Classroom – Noggle

Something that I love to do in my math classroom is play games!  Games keep the kids interested and are a sneaky way to reinforce concepts or make them think critically while they are having fun.

I play lots of different games with my classes – mini whiteboard games, card games, game show games, and bingo games, as well as miscellaneous other games.  One of the games I am most excited about that I will be playing with my kids this year is Noggle!

Click here for a post on my NEW VERSION of Noggle that includes a link to play a round for free!!

Noggle is a fun PowerPoint game that reinforces the order of operations.  Here is how the game is played:

noggle instructions

It only takes 3 minutes to play so it makes a great warmup activity!  I think that this year I will be playing this game with some of my classes on the first day of school when our class period is only about 15 minutes.  My plan is to put the kids in groups, have them work together to find as many expressions as possible.  (I have a worksheet for them that goes along with the game).  I am then going to have the groups trade papers and check each others’ expressions.  It should fill that shortened class period perfectly!

The game includes a version with all positive numbers and a version with both positive and negative numbers.  I am really looking forward to playing the negative version with my kids during our unit on integers – it should make a great review activity!

The animations of the board being “shaken” each time you play are fun – see the video below of the game in motion:

There is also a letter version of the game which Language Arts teachers could use in whatever way they want – to make as many words as they can or any other creative ideas they may have!

Click here if you are interested in purchasing Noggle for your classroom.

Thanks for reading,

Christina

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