Thursday, July 23, 2015

Playing SPOONS in Math Class: Ideas, Template, & a Download

I saw a tweet today that really got me thinking. It leads you to a game of SPOONS with equivalent fractions and the directions to play the game, in case you've never played the card deck version.  #TMC15 is happening, and I'm at GCS Pinnacle feeling a bit left out of the fun. So when I saw this, I knew I had to whip up a batch of cards. 

Pinnacle's topic of the day is Gamification/Gamed-Based Learning (turns out, those are 2 different things). This morning, we played Minecraft, learned about the SERIOUS educational potential there. I'm still pondering if there's something I can use for upper level Secondary Math. Comment below if you think of something. In the meantime, I'm content to see its value for other content areas, particularly in MS Social Studies/History. We ran through WWI and colonization simulations this morning, and it was powerful, even for adults. VERY COOL STUFF. 

This afternoon, our assignment was to create a game. I'm always on the lookout for new games, but I haven't created very many. So it seemed more productive for me to take this new (to me) idea, and make it useful for my grade level. 

Step 1: Create cards. Click here for my 9-card template, which creates 9 playing cards from every sheet of cardstock. Most of the time, I copy this onto cardstock, cut apart, then write on the cards. Occasionally, I'll type up a batch. You need 4 cards per player (I'm planning on groups of 4-6) with a few (4-8) extra. 

Step 2: Decide on a topic. Spoons is fast paced. It's perfect for skill-and-drill type questions, or at least topics that can be identified/classified/etc. quickly. 
Here's the list I can think of off of the top of my head (feel free to add more in the comments!) You will need 4 components/equivalent forms to match up. 

  • Linear equations (matching slope/y-int/table/equation)
  • Linear equations (multiple forms - words/table/equation/graph)
  • Exponent Rules
  • Quadratic equations (matching vertex form, vertex, graph, & ??? )
  • Simplifying radicals (perhaps matching like radicands)
  • Circles (matching equation, radius, graph, and center)
  • Transformations (1 equation w mult. transf., other 3 cards have transf. )
  • Factored form of polynomial & roots, maybe with # of real roots/# complex
  • Exp. Growth & Decay (situation, equation, % rate, growth or decay)
  • Parallel Lines & Transversals (match up 4 examples of alt int, etc.)
  • Triangle Congruence (match up 4 examples of SSS, etc.)
I'm sure there are lots more. Typing this list, it occurred to me that ALL of these would be great post-it activities as well. (Need a reminder about that? Check out this post.) I need to do a better job this year of allowing students to get some practice in a non-worksheet way. 

My friend @sgibson and I wrote up this set for linear equations pretty quickly. 

I typed out a batch of simplifying square roots - students would simplify mentally, then match up based on the simplified radicand. An answer key/master list is included! It took me about 20 mins. from start to finish - not too bad for a new activity! Click here to download it. 

To wrap up, here's my Top 10 take-aways from #GCSPinnacle this week:
1. CANVA is amazing. I've used it 10+ times in 2 days. LOVE. 
2. Badges work. If adults love it, so can high school kids. 
3. It's hard to find teaching techniques that work for all content areas. Some just won't. And that's ok. 
4. Sitting in a desk every day is NOT any easier than teaching. It takes serious personal motivation to stay focused. 
5. There's not a gazebo in McAdenville anymore. There IS one 5 seconds from the Rader Center. 
6. People get goofy after sitting in the same room for 4 days straight. 
7. I need to be on Twitter more. #ILiketoHashtag
8. I need to share more, and worry about having "finished products" less. 
9. You can accomplish a LOT of planning when you're not focused on 1 topic (like what's happening next week, or tomorrow) but rather on an entire course.
10. Cutesy activities usually make me wince, but they really do build a sense of teams. (Shoutout to People Machines & our toaster!)

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