Maths Game – 1 to 100 grid

I recently shared on Twitter about a maths game I had played with my Higher class. We were practicing differentiating using the chain rule. This is a game I read about on Twitter previously but cannot remember where from. 

Here is how the game works:

On the whiteboard I put up a 1 to 100 grid as shown below and choose one of the numbers as the winning number, which is written on a piece of paper and hidden away. 


I have a set of questions and answers prepared in advance (and all numbered to help marking).

The pupils, who were working in pairs, take a question and work out the solution. They bring me the solution for checking. If it is correct they get to select a number on the 1 to 100 grid. Then they take another question.

If the pupils answer incorrectly, they take the question back to re try. If still incorrect I will provide a hint.

This continues until all the numbers are taken.


The winning number is then revealed and a small prize awarded to the winners. 

I like this game as the more questions each pair answers correctly the higher the chance of choosing the winning number and I get to check every single question completed by the class. This allows me to see all the common errors and misconceptions. 

This game works well with a relatively small class as it can get quite hectic. I will definitely be using it again. 

It can be used for any topic at all. Here’s an example.  

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Everything Organization

I do like to organize. I like pretty folders and files. I like colourful drawers and trays. I like labelling boxes and shelves. I like to organize cupboards and rooms. Disclaimer – even though I try to be organized, it doesn’t always go to plan. I do end up with piles of messy papers, misplace things and my pen drive is a mess.

Life is very hectic as a teacher. Constantly changing from one class to the next. Being handed jotters and pieces of paper. It is very easy to lose important documents, pupil work and feel chaotic.

For me, how do I cope? Continue reading

Classroom Management #1

Often there is a pair of rose-tinted glasses on my blogs about awesome lessons and amazing students. While there are great things going on in my classroom there are also periods, classes, days, weeks etc where I am faced with behaviour issues that impact on learning.

I would like to regularly share stories about difficult situations I have faced in my classroom (or corridor) to paint the realistic view of my teaching life. Some of these stories will have happened as recently as last week or as long ago as I can remember. All the names have been changed.  Continue reading

First Day Plans

It’s a funny thing to think about first day plans after the summer holidays as in Scotland we start with our new classes for a few weeks in June before the holidays. So most of my first days with classes have passed. However, I will be meeting my S1 class (11-12 years old) for the first time next week. (Small lie: I did meet them briefly in June when they visited the school for a few days)

So what will be my first day plans for my new S1 class? How do I decide what to do on the very first lesson. I’ve had many first lessons over the years so I began to think back over what i had done previously and here’s what I found:

  • I will start the course officially – hit the ground running – set these expectations for the year ahead
  • I will set problem solving tasks to see how pupils work together and follow instructions
  • I will give a numeracy task to evaluate where pupils skills are

So my thoughts are: is there something I can do to cover all of the above?

Here’s what I have come up with: Continue reading

Goals for this year

I have published 76 posts since the start of 2016. Only 4 of these were published in 2017. What happened?

I’m not sure really. It could be that work became incredibly busy but more likely I didn’t feel I had a lot to share that was new. I had written so much in the first year of my blog and I had run out of things to say.

So I was so excited when I read this on Twitter:

This was exactly what I needed to get me back in my blogging ways. It might be that I don’t manage to blog every week but I am definitely going to try. Continue reading

“Nice Answers”

“It doesn’t work” claimed a pupil to me in class last week. “Of course it does” I replied. “Yeah ok, I suppose it does but it’s not a proper answer” replied the pupil.

This is a discussion about solving equations where the answer was not a whole number. It really made me think. Why is it that pupils don’t accept fractions (or decimals) as a solution to an equation? It’s not that my pupils aren’t familiar with fractions and decimals. 

The problem is the type of questions I ask my pupils. It is fairly typical when first learning to solve equations to have “nice” whole number solutions. Maybe non-whole number solutions should be introduced right from the start.
Then I thought about some other areas of maths. Angles, area, perimeter, volume, Pythagoras, statistics, algebra, … do I focus on “nice” solutions too often in these areas too? 

The positive is that I’ve already started planning to correct this. I’m currently writing a new S1 course in which this will be a focus. I wrote calculating new angles worksheets which contain decimals and algebra as well as whole numbers. Hopefully my pupils in the future won’t be so confused or bothered by answers that are not whole numbers.