I’m always looking for ways to let kids practice in class without necessarily even realize that is what they are doing because they are having a little fun doing it. We are working on solving systems of equations and started out by solving via graphing. This way they truly understand what they are finding when solving a system.
Next day I wanted them to do the “set equal to method” (aka substitution when both equations are solved for the same variable.). Not necessarily a hard task but it is something they need practice on solving. So I pulled out Kate Nowak’s (one of my math teacher idols) math speed dating activity. Basically the desks were lined up with two desks per pod. I had 12 groups.
I made 12 sets of different equations and numbered each set. I then handed out a set to each group being mindful of the level of difficulty when I initially handed them out. I told the students they needed to solve their problem in their group and become “experts” at their problem. When they were done I checked their answers and helped clear up any mistakes.
After students had become experts at their problem, I had the student sitting In the middle isle change desks behind them so they were sitting with a new person that had a different problem. (After thinking about this I didn’t necessarily have to do this but it worked.). They students then exchanged note cards and solved the new problem. Here is the great part – if they were confused, they had an “expert” sitting across from them to help! Also I knew the correct answer was their as well. After each group was done I made sure the kids had their original problem in hand and had them “speed date” – one person stayed in their spot and the other person switched to the next table and the whole process started over.
Fun things I saw – it was fun seeing students who sometimes struggle helping other students who were stuck on their expert problem. It was fun seeing the confidence level increase in solving these problems after a few dating rotations. It was also fun when I then had the whole class solve the “special” cases of no solution and infinite solutions when they were done and discuss as a class what was happening in those cases.
Will definitely be using this one again.