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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Math Activity for Middle School

One of the biggest challenges for 6th graders has to be....NO RECESS!

And, not surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges for 6th grade teachers is that the kids have no recess and get so antsy in class! Thinking about this problem, I've been working on my pacing and trying to find as many activities that get students up and moving around while learning!  During our last in-service day I had the pleasure (yes, I love the opportunity to learn something new and be a better teacher!) of attending some professional development classes hosted by fellow teachers in the district.  My favorite activity I learned about was something I now call "Famous Mathematicians."  

I pulled up some names and pictures of famous mathematicians and after a few tries was able to figure out how to orient them on the page so they printed and I could fold them not quite in half so there is about 2 inches at the bottom like so:

I made ten and taped them up around the room.  The students can start anywhere in the room.  On their answer page they write the name of where they start.  See blank page below.

 They then flip open the paper and read the questions.  Underneath each row on the answer page there is room for them to show their work.  After they've solved the problem they need to go around the room and look for that answer on a different famous mathematician's paper!  When they find it, they write the name of that person on the answer page where it says To:  ___________.  They then go to the second line and write that same mathematician;s name, solve the problem by showing the work on their page, and go around the room to find the answer on another mathematician's paper.  The last space will take them back to the first name they started with and they are done!   

Sorry, I don't have any student examples at home with me so I just wrote this up quickly so you could get the idea.

The students worked so hard and were so involved.  Even the kids I couldn't pay money to listen to me teach for ten minutes were running around the room excitedly!

I love this activity for so many reasons!

  1. Students can work at their own pace.  More than one group can be at any famous mathematicians page, no problem!
  2. They can not move on until until they understand the questions...they need the right answer and will need to come to teacher for help if they need it!
  3. The students are moving around and active.
  4. Allows for great intervention time with students who need it.
  5. It  allows students to learn a little about famous mathematicians!  I included lots of women...girl power! (I plan on adding more about each person-what they accomplished, fun facts, etc as we do this activity again/I find a few extra minutes in life to flesh it out!)
  6. It is east to grade!  Pick any name to start with and make sure students find that name on their page.  Ask them from ________ to?  Have the class respond.  2 minutes at the end of class you that's it! Such a breeze!

If you want to give it a go download this EDITABLE FREEBIE by clicking on the image below at it will redirect you to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  If you are more spacial then I am feel free to add to them by typing up questions and answers, but I just hand-wrote them because I did not have an extra half an hour to figure out how to make them copy double sided correctly!  And this way, if you have a blank copy you can add questions for many different concepts...not just the ratio conversions and percent we were practicing this day!  

She is right-side up here, but the files pull up with the famous mathematicians upside-down so they will fold properly!

  • After explaining the activity I let kids start anywhere they wanted (in groups) and had them all write down their starting place.  Then I had them solve their problem as a group.  I held everyone at their starting point until everyone gave me the thumbs up they were ready to switch.  I had everyone switch at once, find their new station (for lack of a better word), and had them write down the 'to' part and their new 'from' part.  This will just be necessary the first time as the kids caught on no problem after that!
  • I only gave one group a recording paper but made them switch 'recorders' at each new station ensuring every group member was staying active and involved in the solving...I also only had to print about 30 papers instead of 95 :)  

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! We sometimes forget how hard it is for them to sit for as long as they do all day long. This is perfect!