Introduction: Equation Mania is a game used to
reinforce the distributive property and combining like terms and review the
order of operations.
Timing: This game should take about 30
minutes to complete.
Group Size: Small
Learning Objectives: The objective of this game is to
use the distributive property, combining like terms, and order of operations to
write each expression in simplest form.
Guiding Question: What does it mean for an expression
to be in simplest form?
Materials: Students will need pens and scrap
paper. In my case I have
mini-white boards for each student. Photocopy enough games sheets for each group to have one. Photocopy the cards onto card stock.
Here are the rules of the game:
Students should be working in groups of 3 or preferably
4. In my class the students are
grouped during most activities, so they have an assigned roll within the group
(Captain, Mathematician, Supply Sergeant, and Record Keeper).
Each team is given a total of 12 cards, 3 at a time. Teams can work on one card at a time! The goal is to have the teams work collaboratively on each card. If students are working on two or three
cards at a time, they will lose a card for two minutes. Basically, a two-minute
Once they finish their first set of three cards, one group
member will raise their hand, while the rest of the group sits quietly. The teacher will then come and check
their answers. If they are right,
the teacher will remove one person from the group. The removal occurs in a pre-determined order based on their
group rolls. If that does not work
for your class, you could eliminate students by taking: the person who has the
birthday closest to the current day, the person with the letter of their last
name that is closest to the letter z, the person with the most letters in their
first name, etc…
The teacher will then give three more cards. Students must report any repeater cards
they receive (the cannot do the same card twice).
Keep repeating the process until you have one group member
and you have solved all the cards. - For groups of three don’t
remove someone after the first round.
Removed group members will go to the back of the class and quietly work on their homework
until asked to rejoin their group. If a group member is noisy, a two-minute penalty will be added to their
team’s remaining players.
This game can be challenging to run with an unruly
class. Since there will be
multiple groups who finish a set of three cards at one time, it is important
for the instructor to face the rest of class while checking one group’s
answers. Keeping a running order
helps. For example, while I’m
checking a answers I will point at finished groups in the order their hands
were raised and call out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Once a group is given a placing to be
checked, I’ll ask them to lower their hands, so I won’t confuse which group to
Equation Mania is collaborative learning activity. To succeed, students will need to work
together on the opening set of problems. Stronger students will need to help weaker students understand the
material since it is anyone’s guess who will be the last person left at the
table. I typically give points for
the top three placing groups and points for the group that works best together.
Assessment: Students will complete questions
throughout the game and receive immediate feedback on correctness.
Answer Key: The answer key is included.