Systems Assessment 1: Scavenger Hunt

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SWBAT demonstrate their mastery in solving systems of equations

Big Idea

Students move about in a scavenger hunt, solving systems using different algebraic methods.

Before the Hunt

Before students begin the Scavenger Hunt, I need to prepare the course by posting SIGN IN SHEETS and an envelope or folder with Problem Cards on the wall at the entrance of each location. I make sure that these are visible and easy to locate. If possible I place a desk or two at each location so students can work while sitting (but, my students usually work on the floor).

I print enough Problem Cards so that there  are enough for each pair in the class. The problem card that students pick up at the last station (the Teacher's Lounge) sends students back to the classroom. Students are to take each problem card with them to each station and not place them back into the folder. Before the start of the hunt I also print

It is very important that I speak to teachers that are, or will be near the corresponding stations, making them aware that students will be participating in a scavenger hunt, but that this doesn't mean they can be noisy. I inform teachers that they are in full right to quiet students down if necessary.

Foremost, I speak to a colleague and ask if he/she would assist me during this period to stay behind in the classroom while I walk around the stations checking up on the students. This colleague would also write students names down, in the order they return back to the classroom. 


Here are the resources again:

1. School Map Blueprint Scavenger Hunt.pdf

2. Scavenger Hunt Student Worksheet.docx

3. SIGN IN SHEETS with symbols.docx

4. System Problem Cards.pdf

The Launch

5 minutes

Pairing up by ability level is a good idea for this lesson. I want to avoid having pairs of students where one does all the work, since I won't always be present as students work. I hand each pair of students:

The instructions for students are on the worksheet. Each pair solves the first system in the classroom. Students will plot the solution on their map (coordinate plane) and then find where their next location is. They are to go there and pick a card from the envelope pasted on the wall with the same symbol. Students should solve the problem on that card, sign the "sign in" sheet on the wall, and proceed to the next location. I allow students to walk out and to the next station once they are done solving the problem on their first card. Once all students are out of the classroom, I walk around the stations observing students working and make sure they do the hunt as orderly and quietly as possible. 

Rubric: It is important to let students know how they will be assessed so I let students see the Rubric in advance. 

The Hunt

50 minutes

Once students are done solving the first system on their worksheets, they will plot the solution on their map, and they will see where to go next. Once they are at the next station, they pick a problem card there, and do the same.

These are the stations that the students will visit during today's Scavenger Hunt:

1. Classroom: Problem card 1 (heart)

2. Cafeteria: Problem card 2 (Star)

3. Nurse; Problem card 3 (Flag)

4. Library: Problem card 4 (Sun)

5. Music Room: Problem card 5 (Thunder bolt)

6. Auditorium: Problem card 6 (Questions Mark)

7. Gymnasium: Problem card 7 (Flower)

8. Teacher's Lounge: Problem card 8 (Home) 

The last card solution guides students back to the classroom. As I walk around the stations I make sure students are working together, and that the hunt is running smoothly. If I see a group that is struggling and spending too much time at a station, I may ask them to go on to the next station and come back to it at the end if possible.  My goal here is that students try all 8 system problems. 

The Closure

5 minutes

Students will be returning to the classroom as they finish the hunt. Each pair of students should have upon their arrival: 

1. Completed Student Worksheets

2. All 8 of their problem cards

3. A School Map with solutions included

My colleague should have written down the names of the students in the order they arrived back in the classroom.

If time permits, I ask students what they thought about the problems, which gave them difficulty? and which were easy?

I then ask 8 volunteers to do the 8 problems on the board for everyone to see. Discussions at this point may begin. Some students will say they solved a particular problem using substitution  instead of elimination, and vice versa. I always allow a student to go to the board and do a problem a different way if time allows it.  


Homework (Apples and Oranges)

Apples and Oranges is an online puzzle game that represents systems of equations visually by grouping objects in various combinations. To solve the puzzles, students need to translate the images into two equations (easy and medium games) and then solve the system algebraically. It is a cool way of practicing and increasing their understanding of systems. I tell students that it is crucial to write the system of equations that the first image represents, letting x = apple and y = orange, for example, before answering the rest.

I will ask my students to play the easy and medium games for homework. I ask the class to play for at least 15 minutes until they feel they are experts.

Note: Click below and then click on the existing link to open the resource. To answer the questions, put cursor point right beneath the number you choose, and drag the images (cherries for example) to the question mark. (accessed July 23 2014)