The Last Day of School!

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SWBAT celebrate their last day as Algebra One students.

Big Idea

Students will participate in two group activities to welcome the start of Summer.

Opening: Paper Wad Game

10 minutes

We will open up class with the Paper Wad game. This is a fun and fast paced listening activity where students will respond to verbal cues with movement. 

Each student will need two sheets of scrap paper. The first sheet should be ripped apart into four separate pieces and then crumpled up to form four “Paper Wad" balls. The second sheet should be folded in half vertically and horizontally to create four defined sections (It should resemble four quadrants). Each quadrant should then be labeled with the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.

At the beginning of each new round, students will begin with one Paper Wad in each section. I will then call out the directions using this Handout.  Students should move the paper wads one at a time (even if there are more than one in a particular section) into the corresponding section that is called out.  Students will be attempting to follow my directions and to keep up with me as I go. 

Students that have their Paper Wads in the correct ending location are the winners. My class loved this activity, and we went through some of the rounds multiple times. The first round should be done slowly to ensure students understand how the game is played. I will increase the speed that I am reading as we progress to subsequent rounds to add to the excitement. 

Marshmallow Challenge

40 minutes

Teaching Note: Students must work in groups of 4 to complete this activity. Each group will need 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string, and one large marshmallow.

Our last activity of the year will be the Marshmallow Challenge from a 2010 Ted Talk. This fun motivator is a great way to end the school year, and to give students a final opportunity to connect and reflect as a class.

Students should be given exactly 18 minutes to build the tallest freestanding structure. The structure must be able to hold the marshmallow without falling. Once time is up, the group with the tallest structure is the winner. Immediately after finishing, students should watch the 9 minute video that accompanies this activity on the Ted Talk page.

As our final whole group conversation, I will ask students to identify their "aha" and "uh-oh" moments that they may have experienced throughout the year. I will also ask students to brainstorm on the "marshmallows" that they have in real life, and to find the symbolism between the two. We will discuss the idea of prototyping, and what this would look like outside of the Marshmallow Challenge.

This concludes our school year. I want express my deepest gratitude to those who have downloaded any of my resources, and hope that your students benefitted from them. Have a great summer!