Teachers Pay Teachers

Hey guys!

I have started using Teachers pay Teachers to upload some of the activities I have posted on here and some new ones on my teachers pay teachers site!

Check it out! ūüôā



Treasure Hunt Answer Key

The much coveted Treasure Hunt Answer Key! Sorry it has taken me so long, 3 preps + being the activities director can keep you busy! ūüôā

Treasure Hunt Answer Key

For the original activity information see: https://livelovelaughteach.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/systems-of-linear-inequalities-treasure-hunt/

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Tic-Tac-Toe Factoring

This week in my Pre-Calc class I was reviewing factoring because we were learning about Rational Functions, finding asymptotes, holes, etc. And I noticed, which was not new new to me, that the hardest part of solving the Rational Functions was the factoring part. I am not sure what it is about factoring, but it is either a make ya or break ya kind of topic. Which made me a bit anxious as I was planning on teaching my rowdy Algebra 2 class factoring the following day. So I did some research and found some awesome method to teach factoring. However I was unable to find good graphic organizers or worksheets that I could give my students to take notes on… with tougher subjects, like factoring, I like to give my students a graphic organizer or very detailed notes so that when they are at home or struggling on a concept, I know they have the right tools to be successful.

The method I found was the Tic-Tac-Toe Method, maybe this is nothing new, however I was new to the concept and was never taught using something so clear and concise. I was taught the “guess and check” method. So I created this worksheet (TicTacToe Factoring Organizer) that gives the students step by step instructions, and examples so that we can work them together, and then let the students try on their own so I can formatively assess their understanding of the material and answer any questions.

I believe this method was fantastic in reaching all levels of understanding, it allowed all levels of  students to grasp the subject with using something methodic, and it allowed my students to achieve mastery in factoring and approach this subject with more confidence.

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Transformers + Transformations

One of the most surprisingly confusing subjects I have taught has been transformations. I think it is because there are a lot of rules and students usually have them scattered all over their notes and don’t remember which rule goes with what. So as a result of that, I have created a TRANSFORMERS graphic organizer! A graphic organizer helps me know how their notes are organized, and lets me organize them in a way that I believe is less confusing for students. And the Transformers addition is because I have often found that the more relatable something is to the students the less eye-rolling and”why do we have to learn math” comments/questions I get.

I usually use my iPad to take notes for the students, and graphic organizers like this are a great way for me to present the information quickly and efficiently!

*I have attached a blank WS as well as my iPad edited worksheet that I did with the students in class. Excuse the poor stylus handwriting! ūüôā

Blank Document: Transformations

Edited Document: (aka Answer Key)Tranformers Edited

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Systems of Linear Inequalities: Treasure Hunt

Trying to find a hands on activity that not only teaches (using prior knowledge of graphing linear inequalities) but allows teachers checks for understanding and gives students very clear (and quick) way to check themselves is hard to find. So I have created a hands on/discovery approach to teaching systems of linear inequalities. This activity allows the students to explore treasure hunting, while practicing graphing linear inequalities and solving linear inequality systems. My favorite part is it allows the students to be able to check themselves and discover their own mistakes, which means less chance of making them a second time. I can tell them till I am blue in the face to make sure they distribute that negative, or flip the sign when you divide or multiply by a negative but until they discover it themselves I am like the Charlie Brown teacher.

I started the lesson by playing a quick clip from the movie “National Treasure.” We then quickly reviewed the concepts of graphing linear inequalities, as well as systems of equations. I gave them a few minutes to think how they would approach the problem, and then split up my students into pairs and let them being their “Treasure Hunt” (Treasure Hunt¬†Worksheet). This map of the US has 12 different possible treasure locations, and through solving the system of linear inequalities, the one true treasure location is revealed! The winners received a homework pass (and even better, an understanding of solving systems of linear inequalities! :))

Extension Idea: This could also be a really fun activity to let the students explore around campus and create a treasure map with the school layout. Then there could be actual treasure to locate! ūüôā

Sandwich and Gap: Graphic Organizer

Whew! Teaching Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities was a ROUGH topic for my students to understand. And while I hate having them memorize anything, there are SO many rules that apply to each different type of Absolute Value problem that I needed something to help them at least make associations and connections between the different types of problems. I tried to find things that were interactive or hands on, however I was unsuccessful so as a last resort I created a graphic organizer to help put all of the crazy rules in one place. I used this in my classroom and it was a hit! Not only was it something that gathered the information in one place, it also was a great reference I could use when the students asked a question I would refer them to this to help them slowly learn/discover and remember which rule applied to which absolute value equation. It is nothing spectacular but a little color and organization went a LONG way with helping my students understand absolute value equations!

Absolute Value Equations Cheat Sheet


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Jelly Bean Pythagorean Theorem Proof

So my students have been asking me “why does the pythagorean theorem work?” Usually when it is taught we tell them the formula, how to use it and its converse and the conversation is done. But I wanted to be able to answer this question in a less boring way, so I was reading in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School and I found this awesome¬†activity. It requires quite a bit of outside work, but is totally worth it!

Here is the article I used to base my lesson off of: Pythagorean Theorem Activity

*From experience, make sure you actually use Jelly Beans, I tried Skittles and MnMs but they just did not work as well as the Jelly Beans.

I made a worksheet for the students to fill out while working on the activity, Jelly Beans Galore. The students loved this activity, and it really brought the Pythagorean Theorem alive.

Here are a couple pictures of my students busy at work at the activity: 

These students were given skittles, and I found they just didn’t quite lay or fit around each other very well, sort of throwing off the results.

These girls were busy at work, counting the Jelly Beans furiously.

One thing I noticed, that was very intriguing, was the different levels of knowledge and understanding. While some students continued to pour the Jelly Beans in the boxes and counting. All the while,  others remembered the formula for the area of a square, and would just line the Jelly Beans along the square and use the formula to quickly find the area in the square. This was a great opportunity, as a teacher, to assess my students understanding and ability to critically think. It was an extremely successful lesson, despite the making of the materials (which was quite lengthy).

To make the triangle pieces, I used:

  • Cardboard (I bought 2 science fair tri-folds)
  • Poster-boards
  • Square scrapbook paper (that way you don’t have cut out some of the squares)
  • Glue

Then I chose a couple pythagorean triples and cut the scrapbook paper, and then glued the pythagorean triples scrapbook paper to the poster-boards so that they form a right triangle. Finally I cut out 1 inch strips from the cardboards and glued them on as outer-boundaries. The most important thing is that you chose different pythagorean triples so that the students have an opportunity to try and prove the theorem and create hypothesis using various examples of triangles.

*Extension: If there is extra time you can have the students try to make their own pythagorean triples using Jelly Beans and cut out squares. This way they can put into practice their hypothesis of their proof of the pythagorean theorem. Or the extension in the article using different shapes works excellently as well. It just depends on the higher level and critical thinking ability of the students.

This is an excellent activity. I would HIGHLY recommend it! It is really fun, and the students actually learned the Pythagorean Theorem and understood why it actually worked. Have fun! : )

Graph Matching Game (Linear Equations and Linear Inequalities)

So in my Algebra 1 class we have been studying graphing linear equations + graphing linear inequalities however it seems to not exactly be clicking with the kids. I looked online for lots of ideas and saw a couple graphing matching games, however no one actually had examples or quick exercises I could use. I also decided to add a little twist to the activity, splitting the lesson up over two days.

Day 1:  I split the kids up into groups of 2 and gave them each a group of a set of matching cards. I personally put the graphs on Green paper and the answers of Yellow paper (I am a Baylor Bear, so Green and Gold all the way!) I had a total of 18 graphs, and 18 answers. Some of the answers where in y=mx+b form, and others I wrote as slope and y-intercept, and had the students write the formula on the answer card. Finally, the students matched the graphs with their answers. Once the students had finally matched all the graphs, I asked them how to identify the slope, y-intercept, what are the steps of graphing a linear equation? This helped the students organize their thoughts, and helped me to get an understanding of what the students understand.

Matching Game Worksheets: Linear Equations Matching (pg3), Linear Equations Matching, Linear Equations Matching (pg2) Linear Equations Answers 1, Linear Equations Answers 2, Linear Equations Answers 3.

Day 2: The next day, I reviewed linear inequalities with the students. We talked about what types of lines (dashed or solid), and what direction the shading should be. After discussing the similarities and differences between linear equations and linear inequalities I gave the students the same graphs from the day before, but this time I changed the answers into linear inequalities. This gave the students the chance put to practice their understanding of inequalities. The students were required to match the graphs to the equation, and then add the changes that inequalities had on the graph (ie: where the shading could go, and if there should be a dashed or solid line). Using the same graphs as the day before gave the students an aspect of familiarity, and helped the students make connections between the linear equations and linear inequalities. I printed the inequality answers on blue paper… I personally see adding splashes of color adds a little extra something and creates a silly sense of¬†excitement into the lesson.

Matching Inequalities Worksheets: *Use the same graphs as Day 1* Linear Inequalities Answers 1, Linear Inequalities Answers 2, Linear Inequalities Answers 3.

This was an excellent 2 day lesson that could be used to review or to teach the students about linear inequalities and linear equations.

Cartoon Dilating

I love adding influences from other classes into my classroom! So last week, in my Advanced Math class, we were reviewing Transformations such as dilations, rotations, reflections, translations, with some inverse functions thrown in there. After a pretty rigorous week of dusting off cob webs and re-learning material, I decided to let them have some fun with dilating. Instead of dilating boring shapes and squares, I asked the students to each bring in their favorite cartoon. I think this is a really fun way to turn something that can be a simple but boring lesson into a simple but fun lesson.

To introduce the lesson I asked the students to bring in a cartoon for homework, then the next day in class they broke up their cartoon into different measure of¬†increments (some used cm, some used 1/2 inches, inches). I gave them each a piece of graph paper¬†and asked them to enlarge (or reduce) the image they had as much as they could that would fit onto the graph paper, making sure they were able to specify the scale factor they chose. I made an example the night before because, as suspected, the students were a little skeptical because they were “bad artists.” Since they have seen my terrible drawing in class, my example turned all of them into believers and they were all excited to try dilating their cartoon.

Below is the example I made, I dilated the image by a scale factor of 2:

I think this activity worked great, and was a nice break from the rules and formulas they had to learn for the other aspects of transformations.

Travel the US, with the Distance Formula!

Today we are reviewing/teaching the Distance Formula and Midpoint Formula. Usually a very boring lesson full memorizing and using boring formulas. However, I love to take those types of lessons and try to help the students relate the boring information to something they will/can remember. So after introducing the formulas, I took a map of the US (you could really use any map), and had the students plan a trip across the USA covering at least 10 states, and then making “pit stops” along the way of places they would want to visit (ie: the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas). The students have to find the distance of the total trip, as well as the distance between each “pit stop.” Finally, the students have to find the midpoint between each “pit stop” because they MUST stop for gas, and to stretch their legs. This activity ¬†helps the students practice their midpoint formula and distance formula, all the while becoming familiar with the US and interesting locations to visit in the US.

(Most of my students are Chinese Exchange Students, so this was a fun project for them as they are really planning their end of the year travels plans!)

Here is the worksheet I handed out to the students, Distance and Midpoint Worksheet . I gave them this over the weekend, so they were able to do a little research about the places they would want to visit.