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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hidden Squares Activity - #iteachmath #MTBoS

My freshman have been struggling to stay engaged and to really understand simplifying like terms. I tried out this interactive lesson from Nora Oswald, click here to check out her blog post. I also borrowed heavily from Dane Ehlert's adaptation of this activity, click here to check his resources. When student leave your class saying "I really liked today's lesson", you know you hit a home run.

Warm up
We started with this slide. 
Some of my students realized that there were 17 blue dots and that meant there where 15 hidden dots. Some thought there were 16. Not sure where that came from but it's good to see what happens we make simple mistakes and how we can still understand the right concept but get the wrong answer by making a careless counting error.

One student was able to set up a problem 5x + 17 = 32. Other students tried guess and check the started with 5 in each box, then 3 in each box, and then finally got 2 and realized that both sides equaled 32.

Warm up: Part 2
We then worked on this problem on the back of our warm-up handout. 
Question: "When we don't know the quantity or value of something what do we represent it with?"
Students: "Variable"

Students where starting realize the importance of variables and why we can't combine them with constants. 

I was so impressed that the students were able to come up with a way to represent this problem algebraically 2x + 7= 4x + 3. Unfortunately, after that they couldn't figure out how to solve it without guessing and checking. 

What's great with using slides is we just show them the answer. 

Here is where the magic happened
We made our own problems and solved them. 

Students going around and solving each other's. Started giving 5 minutes  to solve and then ended with 3 minutes at each table to solve.

Connection-Wrap up
Then we answered the following questions

What I liked.
  • Students started to see that when we evaluate we have to input the same value to the same variable. 
  • Students created their own problem and solved each other's.
  • Students started to understand identity problems when we have the same amount on each side of the equation. 
  • We broke down different ways to solve each problem.
  • We practiced proofing our answers. 

Finally I posted the students in the hallway for the whole school to be challenged. I am hoping this will help them take pride in their work.

Next time I might try to include a way to include the distributive property.

1 comment:

  1. Love this activity... can't wait to use it with some of my ELL students.