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Pair Up

I found another great use for notecards this week.  (Yes, I know, I could keep a notecard company in business.)  I was teaching my Algebra 2 class how to find a polynomial given the zeros.  I included the idea of conjugates and imaginary numbers.  The week before we had worked on finding the zeros given the polynomial by using synthetic division and our graphing calculators.  I have always known that we teach so many processes in Algebra 2 and then turn around and teach it backwards, but wasn’t always sure on how to communicate this to students.  I would work the problems on the board side by side backwards and forwards, but I was doing all the work, so the lightbulb never went on for my students.

So, about 10 minutes before class started the idea hit me, write the problems on notecards.  Put the zeros on one card and the polynomial on the other card creating instant pairs.  I created enough cards for every student in the class.  When the students arrived I started the class by handing out the notecards randomly.  I told them that some of them had zeros and their job was to write a polynomial and other students had a polynomial and their job was to find the zeros.  I gave them 5 minutes to work their problem and then told them to find their partner.  One of the girls was shouted, “So this is like a game with math!”  Yes, fun in math, who would have thought?  After the students were in pairs, we proceeded to another activity.

On my high from Algebra 2, I tried it the next morning in my Algebra 1 class.  I handed out notecards with trinomials that needed to be factored and notecards with binomials that needed to be multiplied.  I know there are a ton of worksheets with matching games like this, but I have always disliked that students don’t have to actually work the problems.  I think this fixes that issue.  I see this pair up activity as limitless.  I plan on giving some students graphs and asking them to write an equation and other students equations and asking them to create graphs.  I also plan on saving these notecards and when I need students in pairs or groups randomly pulling out old notecards we have done before and having them find a partner this way.  This should incorporate review into the classroom.  Please feel free to share your ideas for pair up games in the comment section below.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Great idea! I did this type of activity several times when I was teaching and loved it. I am going to share this on my facebook! 🙂

  2. October 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I already do this game, but since polynomial functions is my next unit, you just gave me an idea, I don’t have to cook up, Thanks Amber! Have you done the I have, Who has game?

  3. October 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    You could do it for finding inverse functions…

    Cool idea. Thanks.

    • October 28, 2011 at 12:20 am

      I taught inverse functions yesterday and guess what we did… Great suggestion, Kate. Thanks.

  4. Isabel
    October 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Check out Kagan Structures. The structures are activities that can be used with various content–Mixed Pairs, Sage N Scribe, Rally Coach–using problems like this. http://www.kaganonline.com

  5. Betsy Gilbert
    October 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I just taught this too and I love the idea! I will be using it next week!

  1. October 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

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