The Substitution Game features low-floor, high-ceiling cooperative play that works with any age (or with a mixed-age group) — and you can use it while distance learning, too. It’s great for building algebraic thinking.
Excerpted from my upcoming book, Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.
The Substitution Game
Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, integers, fractions, equivalence and substitution.
Players: any number (a cooperative game).
Equipment: whiteboard and markers (preferred) or pencil and paper to share. Calculator optional.
I believe this was the first math game I ever invented. Of course, ideas are common currency, so I’m sure other math teachers thought of it before I did. But to me, it was original.
I’ve blogged about the game before, but here’s the updated version as it appears in my new book Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School — scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.
Math Concepts: integer addition, absolute value.
Players: two or more.
Equipment: playing cards (two decks may be needed for a large group).
Seven years ago, our homeschool co-op held an end-of-semester assembly. Each class was supposed to demonstrate something they had learned. I threatened to hand out a ten question pop quiz on integer arithmetic, but instead my pre-algebra students voted to perform a skit.
I hope you enjoy this “Throw-back Thursday” blast from the Let’s Play Math! blog archives:
If seven people meet at a party, and each person shakes the hand of everyone else exactly once, how many handshakes are there in all?
In general, if n people meet and shake hands all around, how many handshakes will there be?
7 friends (non-speaking parts, adjust to fit your group)
Each friend will need a sheet of paper with a number written on it big and bold enough to be read by the audience. The numbers needed are 0, 1, 2, 3, … up to one less than the number of friends. Each friend keeps his paper in a pocket until needed.
Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, browsing this post just may change your mind.
Welcome to the 70th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of 42+ links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college. Let the mathematical fun begin!
Welcome to the Math Teachers At Play blog carnival — which is not just for math teachers! If you like to learn new things and play around with ideas, you are sure to find something of interest.
By tradition, we start the carnival with a couple of puzzles in honor of our 66th edition.
Let the mathematical fun begin!
Our first puzzle is based on one of my favorite playsheets from the Miquon Math workbook series. Fill each shape with an expression that equals the target number. Can you make some cool, creative math?
Click the image to download the pdf playsheet set: one page has the target number 66, and a second page is blank so you can set your own target number.
Kitten and I have been slogging through the decimals chapter in AoPS Pre-Algebra. She hates arithmetic, so I tried skipping ahead to the algebra puzzle in the exercises, but she refused to be taken in: a decimal problem with an x in it is still a decimal problem.
So I let her off early and pointed her toward these logical “algebra” puzzles instead:
One reason to study algebra: because it’s a building block. And just as it was really hard at first to get those blocks to do what you wanted them to do, so also it can be really hard at first to get algebra to work. But if you persevere, who knows what you might build someday?
Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.
So, try not to think of Algebra as a boring list of rules and procedures to memorize. Consider algebra as a gateway to exploring the world around us all.