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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Fun Algebra Easter Egg Hunt Activity

Just a quick post today to share a fun, quick Easter activity I’ve done in the past with Algebra/Pre-Algebra classes in case you want to try it…

Fill up an odd number of Easter eggs with pennies (put the same number of pennies in each egg).  Hide the eggs in the classroom before class begins.

When the students come in, ask for 2 volunteers.  Have those 2 students search for Easter eggs.  Since you have hidden an odd number of eggs the two students obviously will have found a different number.  Tell them that you want to be fair so you are going to even out the amount of money each student has by giving them some loose coins.

Easter Algebra Activity - math-in-the-middle.com

In the picture, you can see student A only found 1 egg and student B found 4.  So, I gave student A $0.25 and student B $0.04 to even out the total amount of money each student has.

Ask the class to figure out how much money is in each egg.  (You can give the money to the first student to get it correct as a prize if you want.)  Discuss how they figured it out and prove they are right by opening the eggs (in this case there is $0.07 in each egg).

Easter Egg Equation Activity - math-in-the-middle.com

There you have it – a fun way to have students solve equations with variables on both sides (without them even realizing that’s what they are doing!)

Enjoy!

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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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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Back to School Icebreaker Idea for Middle School

Each summer I like to take time to reflect on the past school year…what went well and what I would like to change for the coming school year.  I decided that this year I will share these reflections on my blog, so each of my next several posts will include ideas for the upcoming school year.

Today’s post is about the first day/week of school.  I am going to share an icebreaker that I did last year, which worked out really well for me.  In my small Catholic school, most of the students know each other really well as many of them have been in the same class since preschool or kindergarten.  Because of this, most traditional getting-to-know you icebreakers don’t really work for me in my classroom.  The problem is, though, that even though the students know each other really well, I don’t know my homeroom students well at all coming in to the new school year, so I had to come up with a way to get to them a little without boring them since they already know each other.

So….I designed this worksheet.

getting to know you and me survey picture

I had the students fill in the top half (which is all about them) when they first came in to keep them quiet and busy as I collected supplies and took care of homeroom “stuff”.  I had them write down their guesses for the questions on the bottom of it (all about me) to see what they already knew (or thought they knew) about me.

When they were finished (after about 15 minutes or so), I had them cut the bottom section off and hand in the top half to me.  I then went over the questions about me.  Just about every student wanted to guess the answers to each of the questions, so I called on a bunch of kids to share what they thought the answer was and then I told them the answers.  It was sort of like a show-and-tell time for me as I showed them a picture of my dog and my family when we got to those questions.  They got really into it and seemed to really enjoy getting to know a little bit about me.

As much as they enjoyed learning about me, their favorite part was what I did with the top half of their papers that they handed in to me…

For the whole first week of school, any time we had a few spare minutes, I would pull out those papers and we played “Who am I?”.  I would read about 3-4 of the answers someone wrote down and the kids in the class would have to guess who it was.  For example I might look at someone’s sheet and say “I had a great time in Disney World this summer.  I love the color yellow and hate eating broccoli.  Who am I?”  I would then call on students to guess whose paper I read.  If after 3 guesses no one got it correct, I would read another fact or two from their sheet, and call on other students to guess who it was.

The kids got so into this game and begged to play every day!  It was a great way for me to learn a little bit about my students and it was fun to see how well they really knew each other.  I am definitely planning to do this activity with my homeroom again this year since it was such a hit.  If you would like to use this activity with your class, just click on the worksheet above to download it.

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina

 

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Pi Day: Ideas for celebrating 3.14

 

 

 

happy pi day

 

Pi Day (March 14th)  is fast approaching!!  With standardized testing all week, I really haven’t been doing much teaching, so I thought it would be fun to share how I plan to celebrate the biggest math holiday of the year with my classes next week…

My Pi Day celebration begins with a little prep work at home:

– I make a couple of pies to bring in for my classes.  I usually make Oreo Cool Whip pies as they tend to be a hit with the kids (and only take about 5 minutes to make)!  I also allow my students to bring in their own pies so that there is  a variety and something for everybody.

pi plate

I always use my special pi plate for one of my pies! (A student gave it to me as a gift years ago).

 

– I also make a bunch of chocolate pi symbols in my pi ice cube tray.  (Another gift from a former student).  I use these as prizes for the games we play in class.

pi ice cube

This ice cube tray makes the perfect chocolate pi mold!

 

– I tell my students a couple of days ahead of time that I will be holding a pi digit memorization contest on Pi Day so they can study the digits if they plan to participate in the contest.  I also do a pi poetry contest where the students who are interested type up a poem about pi ahead of time and bring it in on the big day.

 

On Pi Day I do different activities with each class

– I have my 6th graders bring in cylindrical objects on 3/14.  I have them “discover” pi by measuring the circumference and diameter of their objects using a string and dividing the circumference by the diameter.  We keep track of everyone’s results and come up with a class average which is (usually) pretty close to pi.  We eat pie during class and the students who entered the poetry contest read their poems to the class.  I then do the memorization contest with them.  The student with the most digits memorized gets one of my chocolate pi’s that I made in the ice cube tray.

– My 7th graders have already learned circumference and area so I have them do a page of challenging pie-themed word problems dealing with circumference & area.  I give a chocolate pi to the student who correctly completes the 5 word problems first.  After the word problems, I play circle bingo with the kids.  The bingo game requires them to either find the radius, diameter, circumference, or area of a circle.  The winner of the bingo game (you guessed it…) gets a chocolate pi!  I then have students share their pi poems and do the memorization contest with my 7th graders.  The kids, of course, eat pie during class, as well.

(Click below to download the free Pi Day word problems I give to my 7th graders)

pi pic2

– I like to play Pi Trivia with my 8th graders while they enjoy their pie.  I break the kids up into groups of 4 and ask them a bunch of random facts relating to Pi.  Each group holds up their answer on a mini whiteboard and I keep track of the score.  The members of the winning group each get a chocolate pi symbol.  Some of the questions are academically focused while others are humor-based.  I conclude class with the poetry reading and memorization contest with them, as I do with my 6th and 7th graders.

– During my lunch, I have some of the other teachers vote on the best pi poems and come up with a winner for each grade level.  The winners, of course, go home with chocolate pi symbols!

– I like to celebrate pi minute with whichever class happens to be in my room at 1:59, too.  We start cheering loudly (and sometimes some of the nearby classes pick up on it and cheer, too)!

 

All-in-all it is a very fun, exhausting, and FATTENING day….but well worth it!  It’s always a great day!

 

This bundle contains the Pi discovery activity I do with my 6th graders, the Pi bingo game I play with my 7th graders, and several other circle-themed activities –  Circumference, Area, & More: A Circle Bundle.

circle bundle 1

I would love to hear ideas of how other teachers celebrate 3.14, so please feel free to share in a comment below!

Wishing you all a very happy Pi Day!!

 

Thanks for reading,

Christina

 

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