Students enter silently according to the Daily Entrance Routine. Upon entry, they are asked to sit on opposite ends of the room by gender, girls on one side and boys on the opposite side. Their Do Now assignment is already on their table. It includes 12 problems from the Finish Line Common Core Student test prep workbook (2012-2013). These workbooks may be purchased and have available free samples at this link.
Problems in the Do Now include questions where students must solve inequalities, with positive and negative coefficients and must also solve word problems that require writing an inequality to find the solution set. I have included an alternate worksheet with 5 sample problems in the resource section. It is recommended that additional problems supplement this assignment for the trivia game. My aim in this lesson is to review solutions to inequalities (including negative coefficients) which flip the inequality symbol, graphing on the number line, translating word problems into inequalities and interpreting solution sets. The multiple choices in question #4 reflect my students’ need to practice operations with decimals. This problem presents a great opportunity to spiral skills such as these. The word problem can also be re-written using fractions, another topic my current class needs to continue refining.
After 10 minutes of work time, teams of boys and girls review their answers to ensure correct solutions. Students are warned that these questions will appear in the trivia game along with other review questions.
This Do Now assignment is lengthy (15 minutes) to ensure students are prepared to have fun but have also had time to practice the skills independently and review with team members.
Any truly enjoyable and effective learning experience in the classroom must start with some basic expectations. Our basic Ground Rules are the following:
The negative points beside some of the “rules” indicate the penalty given for the indicated offense. If a team gets an answer wrong there is no penalty on that team, but the other team gets 30 seconds to answer correctly. The mandatory thinking time is imposed for some questions because I don’t want students to rush to answer a question, get it incorrect, and then the other team only has 30 seconds to come up with the right answer. I recommend at least 45 seconds to a minute of mandatory thinking time. These particular questions were also selected based on test results I received after students completed their interim assessment a couple of weeks ago.
The power point attached includes all of the “set-up” slides mentioned above along with 35 question–slides. These questions took about 30 – 40 minutes to go through, including explanations and excitement. Midway through the game I noted that many students had left the last two questions from their Do Now unanswered (the two short and extended response questions in the Do Now). This may have been a factor of time or the fact that some of my students are skipping short and extended response questions due to their rigor. This game is a great motivator for students to use their MP1 skills and persevere through these problems. I simply stated at the beginning of the questions that it now had a “mandatory thinking time” and chose to extend that time to 2 minutes, and the point value to 4 points. It is also important to stick to the #1 expectation of “fun attitudes” and take away points due to any negative comments (i.e. “they cheated!”, “that’s not fair!”, “we hit the bell first!”)early in the game so that all students can continue to have fun and learn by understanding that the teacher is committed to towing that line.
I kept track of the points with whiteboards at the front of the room. Any time that a “name that tune” question came up, I made sure to first disable the screen display since all of those links will direct you to a youtube video which includes the title and artist of the song. Students were also expected to write down answers neatly on a separate sheet of paper. If a math question was reviewed whole class, all students were expected to copy the original question and complete solution steps on their paper as well. I stopped and worked out the answers for most of the academic questions not included in the do now to ensure all students were practicing the skill.
As always, I have an alternate activity ready for students who are not committed to meeting the expectations of the game, including being active participants. Students who required a consequence due to poor choices were given a copy of the power point slides with the academic questions only and asked to solve all questions with work shown on the paper. This work would be graded for the student who required the activity.
At the end of class students were asked to complete an exit ticket. It includes one question which will hopefully get me closer to identifying the reason for missing many questions on the IA from standards 7.NS.1-2c. Though the Exit ticket is not aligned to the aim as it does not ask an inequality question, I wanted to take this opportunity to try and isolate a problem that continues to show up in students’ work when it comes to rational number operations. For this particular problem I am looking to identify if students can understand the context of the situation enough to know that they are to add 2.3 degrees every 5 minutes. Students were responsible for answering the question and filling out the bottom portion of the exit ticket. The worksheet instructs students to check our class website over the break to check their answers. I plan to check back in with groups of students depending on the type of work (or lack thereof) shown to solve this problem. This will allow me to give individual students feedback for better results on these types of questions. If most of the question is answered incorrectly, the website includes a worksheet created by “Kuta Software” to practice these skills over the break. No other break homework was assigned.