Sunday, May 25, 2014

Algebraic Style

One of the most challenging things about teaching one-step equations is trying to convince students that they should show their work and do inverse operations on BOTH sides of the equations. Most students can solve one-step equations using mental math and see no reason to show their work on one side of the equation, let alone both sides! After working on one-step equations for a few days, I decided to create a game where groups would solve problems collaboratively and receive points by solving one-step equations "algebraic style."

I started class by playing this song that was written by students in my Pre-Algebra class from last year: Algebraic Style.
Students work in groups of four and solve one-step equations in a relay race format--each student in the group takes a turn coming to the white board in the front or back of the classroom and does one part of the problem and then passes the dry erase marker to the next person on the group. Here are the four steps that I want to see from each group:
1) Write the problem on the board
2) Show inverse operations on both sides of the equation
3) Find the solution
4) Check the solution

When all the groups completed a problem, I walked around the room and award points based on Algebraic style (inverse operations on both sides of the equation), correct solutions, cooperative group work, following directions, etc. I also awarded points to students who could find or explain errors in the student work around the room.

And then to add a twist towards the end of class, I put up a list of songs the students could choose from that offered another style they could add to their algebraic style. I chose a student randomly to select a new style and then played the accompanying song while groups solved the next equation. Here is the list of different styles I came up with:

12) YMCA Style

p.s. I don't show the music videos, I just use these links to play the songs.