I forgot to post about the last lesson - I gave students a quiz on radicals and complex numbers, and I also taught them how to factor trinomials in the form ax^2 + bx + c when the gcf = 1. I graded the quizzes over the weekend, and they weren't that great, so I decided to spend today reviewing with them.
So after reviewing the homework carefully, we spent the rest of the class doing an activity called "Showdown". I got this from another teacher, and I'm not sure where he got it from. When managed properly, I find that this activity works extremely well for review. Students always want to know if it's a competition, and it's not - it's a collaborative activity. Though competitions are fun and have their place, they often lead to one student in the group doing all the work so that the team can get the highest score. This activity helps students communicate with each other and lets them go at their own pace. I made a set of 16 problem cards (with answers on the back) for each group, which I'll post on ILoveMath. Here is the overhead of the rules I made for the class:
The individual time gives students a chance to access their own knowledge. The group time gives students a structured way to collaborate, and it also prevents them from asking me for help before they have thoroughly discussed a problem. I am freed up to be able to walk around and see what's happening, listen to their discussions, and point things out to them when needed. I've done this activity in the past where it did not work exactly as it's supposed to (i.e. students start collaborating right away, or they look at the answer right away), but my class today did an outstanding job with it.
- Each group selects a team captain who will set the pace of work.
- Each student needs a handful of answer slips (there are 16 problems in total).
- Each group needs a team answer sheet.
- The captain shows problem 1. All team members work individually and silently on the problem. Write answers on answer slips, turning them upside-down when done (or totally stuck).
- When the captain sees all slips are upside-down, he/she calls “Showdown”. Group members show and compare their answers, explain their work, and come up with a group answer. The captain writes the group answer on the team answer sheet.
- The captain turns the problem card over and compares the given answer to the team’s answer. If the answers are different, discuss. At this point, you can ask me for help if you can’t figure out how to get the answer.
- Move on to the next problem and repeat.