Thursday, May 5, 2016

What to do during the last days of math class?

Here is my criteria for what makes good mathy activities for the end of the school year:
-no/low tech (we have 1:1 devices, but the last few days of school usually mean all devices are turned in)
-still incorporate math or problem solving in some way
-fun and engaging

video credit:

1. My favorite activity is one I've done every year. Kaleidocycles. When I first starting doing them, over 10 years ago, I had to figure it out on my own. Now, there are tons of online tutorials (check youtube) to explain how to color, fold, and glue. You can also check out my blog post about making these. Kid love them, trust me. It's been my go-to activity for the last two days of math class for years for a reason! :)

2. 5x5 Game. Check out Sara's blog post about the rules. She calls it "the most amazing game" and I trust her judgement. :) I haven't tried it yet, but I'm leaving it as sub plans for the last days of school because I'll be on maternity leave. 

3. The Train Game. Again, haven't tried it yet, but another favorite blogger, Sarah, recommends it. Check out her post about how to play!

4. Pedals Around the Rose. This game doesn't take the whole class period, but it is something you could do for 10 minutes each of the last few days of school. Just the right amount of fun and frustrating.

5. Hotel Snap. Have unifix cubes? Try this fun challenge, by Fawn Nguyen*. 

7. Get it Together Activities- Love these activities. You need to buy the book, but it's worth it. 

8. Draw 10. All you need for this game is either playing cards (1 each of numbers A-9) or the numbers 1-9 written on index cards and this game sheet. Each student uses a new table each game. Before you begin, you set a goal. For example, "1000." You draw a card from the pile and announce it to the class. Let's say you draw a 6. Students can either record the value in the hundreds, tens, or ones column (600, 60, or 6) and put the total on the right. Next round, draw a new card. Students choose a column and record, adding that value to the previous total. You can't go back and change any values and you must play all 10 rounds (even if you have already met the goal). Also, each student might choose a different column, so their totals are different. At the end, whoever is closest to the "goal" wins. 

To make it more of a challenge, use the tables with 1, .1, and 0.1. Then, if you draw a "6" students could make it worth 6, 0.6, or 0.06.

**Update Dec 2016** I blogged more about this game and gave examples of what it might look like here!

9. Decorate, cut out, and glue together polyhedrons. This site has tons of nets of many interesting shapes!

10. Fun Strategy Games- these games do have to be purchased, but they are mathy fun! Blink and Set. Also, if you are looking into games, check out 3-D tic-tac-toe-- read more here.

Have a great end of the school year!

*****Update May 2016*****
A few more ideas were tweeted to me since posting:

1. From Dan Meyer: "You start with a paper circle and at the end, after a fair amount of collaboration, team-building, and discussion, you’ve got this sweet icosahedron."

2. From Bjorn Beling (@mrbeling), he suggests this logic game called the "Color Square Game"

3. From Jackie Stone (@MathEdJax): Her post about Sum Sudoku

*Earlier I had stated that Hotel Snap was an NCTM Illuminations activity reworked by Fawn. In fact, this is Fawn's activity that NCTM asked if they could publish. (Sorry Fawn!)

****Update Dec 2016****

I found more games shared by teachers in this post by Dan Meyer

Even more games are shared by Graham Fletcher in this post