Sunday, January 6, 2013

Simplifying Radicals Cootie Catcher

Back in August, I used a simple cootie catcher with my Algebra I students to help them review measures of central tendency.  I wrote the original by hand, so all I had to offer was a blank template.  The template is now available for you to download directly AND it includes folding directions.  You'll still need to write in your topics/problems/questions by hand. 

Tonight, I spent some time typing up a version for simplifying radicals.  It includes a summary of rules for simplifying single radicals as well as radical expressions involving the four operations.  There are 8 practice problems included.

You could use this a few ways in your classroom:
1. Have students complete the problems, check their work, and keep the cootie catcher as a study guide.
2. Have students work in pairs to "play" the cootie catcher game, taking turns to answer the problems.  Once both students agree that the work is correct, they can record the solution in their own cootie catcher.  They continue until all problems are complete.  This will work best if students write some numbers on the outer flaps and color the inner flaps so they're not directly choosing the problems they'll complete and there's a little bit of chance involved.   
3. Combining the ideas from above, split the class into two and distribute two versions (perhaps copied on two colors of paper).  Students solve their own problems and check with the teacher's answer key or another student who did the same version.  Two students with different colors then pair up and play the game.  As one student solves, the other student praises and coaches.  This is a version of Kagan's Rally Coach structure.  If your students need additional support, they can be teamed up with another student with the same version for the initial solving and then get a new partner for the second portion of the activity. 

We'll be doing method #3 in my classroom, but I know that not everyone is comfortable with or feels they have time for this sort of cooperative learning. 

Want your copy of two versions of this cootie catcher?  I'm trying something new to me, so bear with me and please leave a comment if it doesn't work properly.  Here's a link to the pdf file in Google docs.

Mathematically yours,
Miss B

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