Sep 1, 2011

Teaching Thursdays- Partner Activity

I hope everyone had a wonderful week and you are getting back into the swing of teaching again! Last week I shared how I set up my classroom that allowed for partner work at all times and quickly switched to group activities. So, at the request of Mrs. H from Math Tales from the Spring, (Hi, Mrs. H!!) I am going to share an activity today for students to do with partners.

Mrs. H said she found these really cute small sheets of graph paper at Target.

These would be great for Mix, Freeze, Pair activities in class. I am a cheapo and would laminate the sheets of paper and let the students use wet erase markers to make them reusable. Or you can put them in sheet protectors instead of laminating. And because I am a cheapo, I would probably skip buying those all together and just print out a class set of graph paper and laminate those. But I digress.

So, since most Algebra II classes are reviewing linear equations right about now, I thought I would share a Mix, Freeze, Pair activity for graphing a linear equation.

1. Give each student a notecard or have them use a sheet of scratch paper. (I always kept my extra worksheets and used the backs for scratch paper).

2. Have students write down their favorite ordered pair. I mean, who doesn't have a FAVORITE ordered pair?!

3. Students will stand up, MIX (walk) around the room, and as they pass another student, they say hi and trade cards. They continue doing this until you say FREEZE. When you say FREEZE, they PAIR up with a person next to them. They now have two notecards with two ordered pairs.

4. Using their notecards, they can find the slope, equation, and graph. I usually give them a worksheet to carry with them for writing down their calculations, but again they can use scratch paper. They could also use a small dry erase board instead of a handout or paper.

A sample worksheet that I would have had them use can be found HERE! :)

5. Once you see that the students are ready to switch again, have the students MIX (continually trading cards so they aren't using the same point for each problem), FREEZE, and PAIR. I usually had them switch 3 or 4 times, depending on time. I also insisted they found a new partner each time they paired up so that way they were working with new people all the time.

To add a little fun, I also did this with music. So they mixed while the music was on and when I turned it off it meant for the students to pair up.

Some reasons I love this activity:
1. It is very little prep on my part. The students make up the cards, they carry a reusable graph, and I can just facilitate and answer questions.

2. It is versatile. Think of all the concepts you could use this with: graphing/ solving systems, finding slope between points, are the equations parallel/perpendicular?, graphing systems of inequalities, adding/subtracting/mult/dividing rationals, mult/div exponents...

3. Kids are getting to move around the room, work with new people, ask questions, teach others.

Lastly, I wanted to add a sidenote of using wet erase markers or dry erase markers in class. Whenever we used something out of the norm such as the dry erase boards, I ALWAYS let them play and doodle for about 2 minutes. I told them to draw to their heart's content for those two minutes because after that, we are focused on math and I didn't want to see any hearts, flowers, boyfriend's initials, tic tac toe, etc. It worked pretty well and I didn't have problems with kids off task during the activity. Just a little tip for ya!

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  1. I am so excited to use this when we return after Christmas vacation!!! We are starting slope so this is perfect!!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. I am so excited to use this when we return after Christmas vacation!!! We are starting slope so this is perfect!!
    Thank you for sharing!


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