Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#July2014Challenge: The other SBG

I had to work today, so I figured I would go for an easy blogpost.  I am part of a blogging challenge to blog everyday in July, put together by druin.  I figured an easy blogpost would be one where I am sharing one of the many amazing teaching resources or strategies that have been shared with me over the years.  Enter SBG.

No, I don't mean Standards Based Grading.  When I first started reading blogs I saw SBG plastered all over blog links.  This was really confusing, because it was assumed that readers knew what SBG meant.  I finally Googled SBG and found that it means standards based grading, but I'll admit that I spent a week or so wondering if it stood for Silent Board Game.  And I was okay with this, because silent board games (by College Preparatory Mathematics) are fantastic and deserve their own blogpost.

My first teaching job was 7th grade pre-algebra, and we used the CPM curriculum that year.  Silent Board Games are one of the many engaging activities provided in the teaching kit to help students learn and practice mathematics.  We introduce this activity when students are learning about linear equations or functions.  Suppose I give you the table below:

The first rule of this game is that you have to be silent.  I will initially give 60 full seconds of think time for students to think about what the rule is that relates the input numbers in the top row to the output numbers in the bottom row.  I will then start taking volunteers to add entries.  No one can give the rule or the equation until all other numerical entries in the table have been filled out.

After a couple more entries, give about 30 extra seconds of think time.  Adding fractions or decimals is an easy way to reinforce number sense, and it is an easy way to differentiate for the students that need an extra challenge.  Once you get to this point in the game (below) there will be many wiggly students itching to give you the rule.  They love that part!

 The completed table is below. 

Some things to consider as you get ready to play Silent Board Game with students:

-The first time you play, you may need to go through a round with students to explain your thinking.  
-You can leave some of the input numbers blank so that students can work backwards from the output.
-For errors, some teachers erase the incorrect answers.  Other teachers let students know ahead of time that there might be mistakes, and if so you can erase the error when it is your turn.
-CPM used this activity a couple of times a week for an entire unit.  I don't recall the including non-linear rules until the end of the unit.  They chose simple quadratic and square root rules.
-This game is also fun to play in Algebra and Algebra II!

Links with SBG resources:
-Blank copies with examples
-Silent Board Grid with top row filled in (you pick the rule and tell students what to add to the bottom to begin the game)
-MathRecap blogpost by Dan Meyer on silent board game and a couple of other related activities.  

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