This is an engaging activity my students love that has them moving around, practicing an important math skill, and using higher order thinking skills such as justification and analysis.
The topic is factoring polynomials - trinomials, difference of two squares, and greatest common factor.
When you use this in class, print and copy the first two pages as the student handout for each. The third page are the popcorn and kernel cards that only the kernel will need.
To start, students need to set up desks in pairs. I have them make the pairs facing each other and spread around the room. Within their first pair, one student chooses to be the popcorn (the mover) and the kernel (the sitter). The kernel is the problem manager. They pass out the first problem and students take 3 minutes to complete the problem and justification. Sometimes I have them check their partner's work or discuss the problem before moving on. Then I say "popcorns pop!" to have popcorn students move to a new desk and repeat the process.
Here are the student instructions:
"We are going to have more than one set of partners today. There will be no repeating partners. The steps below apply to each new location.
1. Make sure you and your partner know each other. If you do not, take a second to introduce yourself.
2. From the cards on the kernel’s desk, find the problem your teacher tells you to look for. You and your partner will have different problems that you will solve on your own.
3. Copy down the problem on this sheet and begin working. Answer the justification questions.
4. Check / share with your partner. Use the justifications you wrote down if you feel like you don’t have anything to say. Also use this opportunity to help your classmate if they made a mistake"