Paper Punchers

I know when you get back from break that it is hard for students to get back in the motion of things (and for me too!). I made this activity for students our first week back and brought in a few helpers to make it successful. Everybody got both punch-out worksheets and I let them choose where to start and which ones to tackle. This was more solo-oriented but students are always sitting in groups of 3-4 so they are free to talk with each other on problems. Here is what they looked like:


Students were busy working away and then running up to either myself or a helper and got the box hole-punched if they got the problem correct. If they did not get it correct, either guidance was given or I asked a question that might lead them to think about how to solve the problem and they would go back and try again. Students thought it was fun, they got to practice, students got to move around which, imo, helps learning, and I got to see who knew what was going on and who didn’t. Win, win, win, and win.

I know they did better on their quadratics test the following class because some of them realized things they “thought they knew” and were able to have a lot of time practicing as well as asking for some 1-on-1 assistance if needed.

Shading Struggles

I worked on graphing inequalities with my students earlier this year and they have a very difficult time determine which side to shade. The idea of a test point makes many of them groan because of two different reasons:

  1. It requires extra work
  2. When substituting numbers, they sometimes get confused with negatives and do it incorrectly.

While struggling through, I decided this year to whip up this worksheet:

In my mind, this was going to be a quick review of shading since I knew some were struggling…little did I know this was going to blow up in my face (Boom). What I thought might take them 5-10 minutes was taking much longer and many were confused. Only after many seemed even more confused, I realized that the main thing that threw them off was that their was no coordinate grid. The students who liked the test point idea had no clue what to do. Vertical and horizontal lines also through some of them a curve-ball because we had not practiced as many of those at this point. Because it was not what they normally saw (always given a 10×10 grid and said to graph) they were confused.

Even though it was horrible at first, we talked through it and they made lots of progress. This ended up marking the turning point for the class as the day many students started having that light-bulb moment and went on to having much success on the chapter test. It is funny how things that seem easy to me can really take a long time for some students to grasp but getting them out of their comfort zone can really make a big deal in helping their understanding when it is all said and done.


Midsegment Madness

I have been trying to structure my geometry classes this year with a problem to think about so that they can discover something. I believe that if they learn something without me, they take ownership of it and actually remember it. I gave them this triangle midsegment problem the other day in class:

As you can tell, it is nothing fancy. Maybe because I have been doing things like this all year long but my students dove in and tried to figure out a whole bunch of stuff. After they made their conjectures, I drew another one on the board and they had to figure out everything again and see if their conjectures worked. Some did and some didn’t…which lead to some great discussions. After 30 minutes, we were done discussing and everyone was convinced that this always worked. I threw a sketchpad up on the board and played around with it and they double checked it always worked (they love watching these things fly around on the screen).

I could have easily just told the students to accept this fact and do 10 practice problems on it but instead, I thought that this would be much more beneficial. I then proceeded to give them a few practice problems in different contexts involving midsegments…they rocked through all of them. Love it when kids tell you that this concept was easy when reality, they think it is “easy” because they worked hard to understand the idea behind and not just memorize that it is parallel and half the measure of the base. I need to remember to do more of this as it is so powerful!