In this hands-on activity, students will solve simple quadratic equations by using inverse operations. There are 16 cards, each with an equation on it. As students solve each equation, they will find their answer on another card. As they work to put the cards in order, a secret message will be revealed.
This is a great activity (much better than a worksheet!) because:
1) It is self-checking. If students don't find an answer on another card, then they know they have made a mistake. Also, if the secret message doesn't make sense, they know they have made an error.
2) It is hands-on. Students can cut out their own cards, and then physically manipulate them as they work. Just a little bit of hands-on activity can help students stay focused throughout the lesson.
3) Differentiation. There are two sets of cards: one set requires to simplify their radical answers, and one set doesn't.
4) Easy to check and grade. If students have shown their work and have the correct secret message, you can be confident that they know what they are doing. That allows the teacher to move around the room quickly and find students who are struggling. There is also a worked key provided to help with assessing student understanding.
5) Opportunities for grouping. I usually give one set of cards to each pair of students. I have them each complete a worksheet, but they work together. You could also have students work individually or in larger groups.
This activity works well for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, or Algebra 2 as a review activity.