Thursday, September 18, 2014

#mtboschallenge week 5: Trashketball and Ricochet Robots

I was so busy this week I thought for sure that I would have to skip the weekly blogging, but here I find myself with a bit of free time and a fun prompt to write about (math games and activities).

While cleaning out my inbox today, I ran across an old email from a colleague sending me to The Exponential Curve blog for rules on how to play the review game trashketball.  I was pretty excited about this find, especially since I also have been following The Exponential Curve blog by Dan Wekselgreene.

Many of the teachers in my math department have used a modified version of Dan's trashketball to help review for tests.  One big difference for our game is that we print the problems and cut them apart, and give one problem at a time to each group.  Our procedure is below.

1. Hand out problem 1 to each group.

2.  All students show work on paper, and come to consensus on answer

3.  Students take turns bringing me their work, along with the piece of paper that the problem is on (quarter sheet, so not too wasteful).  If the answer is correct and work is shown, I will let them keep the quarter sheet to use later when we take shots into the recycle bin.  If the answer is incorrect I keep the quarter sheet.  In either case, they pick up problem 2 and bring back to the group.  I can also ask for an explanation before they move on, but I'll admit this can cause problems if other groups are waiting for answers to be checked.  I keep the quarter sheets organized in a flipbook envelope.

4.  When all groups are finished with the problem set (8 or so problems), we crumple the quarter sheets into balls and take shots into a recycle bin to determine the winning group.  

A couple of notes:
- I agree with Dan that you can only do the same review game so many times.  I'd stick to 2 or 3 times for the year.
-If groups finish early there is a review assignment to work on.
-After reading Dan's trashketball post (with a 2014 lens), I would love to implement his version with one student per group up at the board at the same time showing the work.  Students will have had time to work on the problem with the group, and then the chosen group member can bring up the work with them and rewrite on the board.  They take the shots and keep score at the end of each round.  

Have you checked out Nick Romero's math basketball review game?  Mini-whiteboards AND basketball!  Sounds like a lot of fun.  
I've also purchased lots of games over the years to use in my math classes.  My two most recent purchases have also turned out to be my favorites.  They are Set and Ricochet Robots.

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