I few weeks ago in 8th grade we were working on rules o exponents. The kids had completed an exploration and figured out the rules (and hopefully understanding the why behind the rules) but they needed practice. So I took a worksheet full of practice problems and divided it into six parts. The first sections started off with easier problems and then got harder as the sections went on.
I started the hour by shutting the door (and I never do that) and I said that we were going to do something that I wasn’t sure was legal (boy did I have their attention then) as I heald a deck of cards in my hand. I told them how they were going to practice what they had learned about rules of exponents by playing a little game. I then explained the game.
Students got into groups of four and worked on the problems. Once they had a section done they would send a representative back to me and I would tell them if they were right or not. If they were, that person was to pick a card. If they weren’t, they needed to go back and try again. At the end of the activity they could have up to six cards. I said we would then pick a winner by a predetermined set of rules as to which group had the best card hand. By this time they had figured out it would be by poker rules for best hand. And they were saying “ooh, we are gambling in school.” And the. Of course I would play it up and say no we weren’t and so on and so forth.
Anything to get them a little bit excited about practicing math.
Things I would change – I wouldn’t put as many problems in one section. We actually had to continue this the next day, but it was a pain because I had to collect the cards back for the next hour but then had to give the exact cards back the next day. I would make sure it could be completed in one day.
Exciting things that happened – one group had their first three cards be king, 10 and ace of the same suit. It was flu to see their reaction when their next card wasn’t one that was going to get them the royal flush. Winning hand the entire day was there of a kind (by the rules we were using to determine the best hand – ha ha)
Here are some pictures from the day.