Friday, December 23, 2016

Leap Froggin'

I am always looking for new and engaging ways to inspire (okay, trick) my students into practicing the mathematics content we are learning. Every day is essentially a new quest for discovering how to get kids to "do" the math with out just giving them another worksheet. 

I am known for throwing out cheesy sports analogies frequently during the year and this particular lesson started with one. I asked kids the following question...

Usually they all start laughing at the thought of their cardigan wearing, logic puzzle dominating, nerdy math teacher trying to play in the NBA. But then we have a discussion about how YOU have to physically get out there and practice the skills in order to be able to do them. Watching someone else do it is not enough. BOOM... Now how will we all practice today students? By playing LEAP FROG! 

I got the idea for this game from one of my favorite blogs Math=Love. Check her original post out here!

Come up with about 10-20 problems you want students to solve. Then, create decks of cards for each student with the answer to each problem on each card. 

Students move their desks into a giant circle and lay out all their cards on their desk. 

Post a question on the board. For our lesson, students were practicing how to write repeating decimals as fractions. 

Students solve the problem on a worksheet (heaven forbid) or on whiteboards (much better for my students). Once they have their answer, they sneakily grab the card with the answer they think it is and hide it behind their whiteboard. 

After a certain amount of time, have students with an answer reveal their card. If they got it correct, they put their card back on the desk, stand up, and move to the next available desk. They might just move one desk, or they might "leap frog" over other students who didn't get the correct answer. 

Continue playing until the first student makes it all the way back to their original desk. 

The students LOVED this game. They asked to play it again the next day. Here are my recommendations for anyone looking to play it this game:

1. Make sure you have created a classroom culture where it is okay to be wrong. This game could be a real confidence killer if your classroom isn't a safe place for errors.

2. Make sure you have a mix of difficulty levels in the problem set so that even struggling students can get some of the problems correct.

3. I think this game is better at the end of a unit as review, not at the beginning of a unit when students are still learning how to do something.

Overall, loved the game and will definitely be playing it again! Just one more way to get students DOING the mathematics instead of just watching me do it! 

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