Materials needed: 4 (large) white boards and markers, erasers.
Background: I usually give students something to answer as they get to class, that is what the “Bell Ringer answer” spot is for…
Students should be familiar with the equations for finding speed/velocity (s or v = d/t) and how to rearrange the equation to suit the problem asked. I have found this to be a poor way to introduce new material.
The problem solving steps in the box have been a big help giving students a place to start regardless of the topic being covered. I try to have students do this for every math problem we do. I make each problem 5 points and give a point for each step in the box (so theoretically they could earn 4/5 (80%!!) on a math problem without doing math!! I love the process and it is worth it to me to give students points for doing this process.
Way this works: I seat students in groups based on the paper they picked up at the door (or you could distribute them more deliberately…). I go through the example problem as a group - the problem uses all steps in the problem solving method! I then ask the groups to solve the warm-up question as a group and I go over the answer with each group if they get done different times or on the board if groups get done together.
Each group has 1 large white board to write the answer to their group’s problem. They must put the question and answer to their group’s problem on their individual sheet as well. You can have them show all work on their individual paper first, you can check it for accuracy then have them write it on the big board. Once all groups are ready, have the students do a Gallery Walk and get the other questions and answers from the other group’s boxes.
Benefits: This type of activity helps my students who are struggling by allowing them to get answers to questions that they might otherwise not be able to do on their own. The ability to get answers and complete the assignment motivates them to complete the assignment. They will have written at least 4 correct answers – and they cannot do that too often in my opinion. Students have the ability to ask peers how they solved the problem without doing so in front of the whole class or with any teacher involvement – and that is win-win as students really have to know the material in order to teach it!
Activity time: Not less than 15 min. My students averaged about 30 min. to complete the entire activity.