Category Archives: All Classes

Final Exam Time!

Ugh, who doesn’t hate finals? It’s so stressful for all of us, students and professors alike. It’s time to bring in a a game to lighten things up!

Here we are at

THE FINISH LINE!!

Make a line on the board like this:

I’m assuming you have a test review sheet you’ve made up or something the department has given out. (See below if you don’t.)

Put students in groups!

Every time a group gets 4 correct (or some other amount you determine) on the test review sheet, they role a die to see how many squares they advance along the line you put up on the board.

Take note: rolling the die is our secret ingredient to making it more random and therefore more game-like! You don’t have a die??? Get one! They have them at bodegas everywhere! OR download a virtual die app to your phone! OR have them pull out a number from one to 6 (or whatever) that you have in a hat. Or a bag!

This is less time intensive than creating your own PowerPoint Jeopardy, and just as fun. You will be amazed at how suddenly focused your students are. And there isn’t even a prize! (If asked, you can say “The prize is you do awesomely on the final!”)

What if you don’t have a review sheet?

Have students get together in pairs. Together, they make a question they think will be on the final, then figure out the answer. Then ask them to ut the question (VERY BIG) on one piece of paper and the answer (VERY BIG) on a different piece of paper. Urge them to disguise their handwriting so it’s tougher to figure out which question and answer match. OR have them write two similar questions and two similar answers. Or Both!

Tape all the questions to one side of the board and all the answers to the other side! Challenge students to find the matches!!

This is so much fun!! Your students will be so much happier! And productive! And ready for finals.

But then you have to grade them. ūüôĀ

Maybe we should make an exam grading game. ūüėČ

 

 

Mad Math: Probability Frenzy

Did you ever play Mad Libs as a kid? For me, it was a really fun way to pass the time on long, boring car rides. I am delighted to see that it’s also a great way to get students excited about math problems!

Previously, I blogged about a factoring version of this game (scroll down to find it). This time, I have an example that can be used for probability.

The game could be modified to be about nearly any math topic, including fractions and decimals for pre-algebra.

It’s a great way to get students to laugh and start working together. After they finish the problems they have created (at the end of the mad lib), they can do a worksheet together that you have prepared — you’ll find they are much more willing to get some work done after they have played this game!

 

PDF Version: Mad Math example for probabilty 

Directions

  • The group leader does not show the group this piece of paper!
  • The leader asks each person in the group in turn to contribute a word, letter or number until all the blanks are filled in, including the number blanks at the end.
  • If a person gets stuck on a word, they can use one of the ones on the board.
  • After all the blanks are in, the leader reads the story and the group works out the problems.

 

My ___________ subway ride started when a giant¬† ___________¬†¬† _____________ up from the subway ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† adjective¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† animal¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† verb ending in ‚Äďed¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

 

and into the ____ train.  People were  ___________, but I got a ___________, so I was ___________.

¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†letter¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† verb ending in ‚Äďing¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†noun¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† adjective

 

When I got to school, my ___________ professor would not ___________my excuse and said that if

                                                       adjective                                        verb

 

was late one more time, I would get a ____. What a ___________ day!                                                           letter                       adjective

 

Luckily, I found out that the probability of another day like this is  ___________!

                                                                                                 A number between 0.01 and 0.99

 

 

Find the following probabilities

  1. There are _____________ people at the parade. The number wearing sunglasses is ______.

A number between 80 and 90                               a number between 5 and 70

  1. Find the probability that a random person at the parade is wearing sunglasses.

 

  1. Find the probability that a random person at the parade is not wearing sunglasses.

 

  1. At a fast food restaurant, _________ people get sick, while __________ people do not.

A number between 10 and 20                               a number between 30 and 40

  1. Find the probability that a random person at the restaurant got sick.

 

  1. Find the probability that a random person did not get sick.

 


 

Digital Algebra Games!

Three digital algebra games are now being tested in 7 sections at BMCC and are yours to try for free.

Here, Don Wei and I explain about the games: Game Plan for STEM.

Each game is in nearly completed form. Finished versions will be available here and in the Apple Store.

Our games are:

  • Project Sampson, a GIS game that shows students applications of linear equations. Download¬†here:
  • xPonum, which helps students learn shifts and zeros for equations of all types
  • Algebots, an equation-solving puzzle-game. Download here.

Coin Games

This game is a fun way to practice word problems for systems of equations. I usually have my students play the game in math 051 or 056 after learning systems of equations. It makes a great test or quiz review game.

How to play:

  1. Pass out envelopes with coins inside. Each envelope has an algebra problem on it. I like to have every group do the same problem at the same time, so I warn them not to talk too loudly about the problem that they get!
  2. Each groups tries to solve the problem written on the envelope, making sure each member in the group understands how to do the problem.
  3. Once they think they have solved the problem, I let them open the envelope while I watch *if* every person in the group understands the problem.
  4. I use real coins. I let the winning team keep the coins if they want to.
  5. The best part is the bonus round, where teams make up their own problems for another team to solve.

Here are some examples of the problems I use. Or you can go to the word file, coin-game.

Do NOT Open the envelope until you have solved the problem!

This envelope contains pennies and dimes.
The number of pennies IS 6 more than the number of nickels.
The total amount of money in the envelope is $0.50.
If you solved the problem correctly, KEEP the money. If you did not solve it correctly, GIVE BACK the money.
Either way, go on to the next envelope!

Do NOT Open the envelope until you have solved the problem!
This envelope contains pennies and nickels.
The total number of coins (pennies and nickels) IS 15.
The total amount of money in the envelope is $0.35.
If you solved the problem correctly, KEEP the money. If you did not solve it correctly, GIVE BACK the money.
Either way, go on to the next envelope!

Bonus Round ‚Äď Double your money!!!
Put some of your money in this envelope, and write a word problem for it, here:
This envelope contains _____ and ________.
The….
The total amount of money in the envelope is ______.
Give the envelope to another group.
If the other group solves your d the problem correctly, you get double the money you gave them,

Mad Math, or Math Libs

car

Did you ever play Mad Libs? I loved to play this game on long car rides when I was a kid. You could get books of them in the drug store, and best of all, your parents didn’t mind spending the money to get you a whole package, because it was “educational”!

Now the game has a new online incarnation: http://www.madlibs.com/, and you can even find an app to play it.

In Mad Libs there is a leader, who asks everyone else to give them words to fill in the blanks — but¬†the leader does not tell the rest of the group the story until all the blanks have been filled in!¬†Once the blanks are all filled in, the leader reads the story to much hilarity.

I created my own story, with a twist — it has numbers at the end that students also have to fill in. When my students finish reading out the story, they also read out and do the problems they have created. The particular problems you’ll see below involve factoring, but could be changed to suit any topic. The great thing about this game is that it brings in topics from English (interdisciplinary!) and story telling. It gets students laughing and more ready to do the problems, and it allows students to create their own problems.

Mad Math: Factoring Frenzy

 Directions

  • The group leader does not show the group this piece of paper!
  • The leader asks each person in the group in turn to contribute a word, letter or number until all the blanks are filled in, including the number blanks for the factoring problems.
  • If a person gets stuck on a word, they can use one of the ones on the board.
  • Then the leader reads the story and the group works out the problems.

My ___________ subway ride started when a giant¬† ___________¬†¬† _____________ up from the subway ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† adjective¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† animal¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† verb ending in ‚Äďed¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

and into the ____ train.  People were  ___________, but I got a ___________, so I was ___________.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† letter¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† verb ending in ‚Äďing¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† noun¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† adjective

When I got to school, my ___________ professor would not ___________my excuse and said that if

                                                       adjective                                        verb

was late one more time, I would get a ____. What a ___________ day! Luckily, I found out that if I could

                                                               letter                    adjective

do these ___________ factoring problems, everything would be ___________!

                   adjective                                                                                 adjective

Factor:                             Caution: one of the problems is not factorable!

 

  1. x2 + 3x___¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†2.¬† x2 –¬† ___x + 25 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†3.¬† x2 + 12x +¬† ___

an integer between 3 and 5          an  integer between 9 and 11      a perfect square betw 30 &40

¬†4. x2 – ___¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 16x2 –¬† ___¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 6. x2 +¬† ___

any perfect square                              an odd perfect square                              any perfect square 

Bonus: change the problem that is not factorable into one that is.

The word file here: mad-math-example gives you a better copy, plus some signs I made up to put around the room so that students would know what an adjective, adverb and noun were.

I invented this game at a¬†What’s Your Game Plan¬†workshop, with the help of Joe Bisz, Carlos Hernandez and Francesco Crocc. Much thanks, you guys!