Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Solving Equations Pinch Cards

First of all, thanks to @druinok who blogs at for motivating me to write this post (and being such a good encouragement on Twitter as well).  Follow me if you like; there's a button to the right now. -->

There was some discussion on Twitter tonight about response cards.  I can't stand fumbling and missing pieces, so individual cards are not for me!  I prefer a pinch card.  If you're not familiar with them, they are long thin strips of paper (like cutting an 8.5x11" into three vertical strips).  Answers are located along the strip.  These are general usually, such as A-D for multiple choice, True and False, etc. 

Last school year, one of my favorite uses for pinch cards was solving equations.  My kids were Struggling (yes, with a capital "s") with understanding which operation to do when.  I made simple pinch cards with the four basic operations, combining like terms (now "collecting" like terms for CCSS), and distributive property.  We would look at equations and decide which step to do first.  One or more students would explain their answers and we would reach a consensus.  Then we would work together to solve that step and use the pinch cards again for subsequent steps.  I kept it to the four basic operations at first and it worked well.  Then we added in the CLT and distributive property.  We had 100% engagement (and even if at first they were copying their response from a friend, at least they were putting effort into getting the right answer)!

Here's the file.  I recommend printing it double sided so you and the kids can both see what was selected.  Laminated cardstock would be your best choice for durability. I kept them in table bins but you could also punch holes and keep them in students' binders if you'll be using them frequently.

How have you used pinch cards or response cards in your lessons?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B


  1. I downloaded these, and can't wait to try them out. I like that this provides a prompt for students who struggle, instead of me trying to use my telepathic powers.

    1. Thanks, Hannah. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Hi it's Pam. :) Found you through Pinterest...I didn't know you blogged too! :) I started last year so I'm still really new at this.

    I've used index cards for responses before to have my kids practice all sorts of vocabulary (direction words, true/false, etc.) but I'll have to try pinch cards. I agree...less mess. I also like having kids write their responses on dry erase boards...for some reason they find them fascinating.

    1. Hi Pam! Thanks for visiting. Pinch cards are fun; you should definitely give them a try! I also like whiteboards and use them a lot in math. Sometimes to speed things up if I'm using the same responses over and over, I'll have them rotate the whiteboard 90 degrees repeatedly and write a different response along each edge. Let me know how pinch cards work out in your classroom!

  3. GREAT IDEA!!! Thanks, downloading these now!!!

    Hodges Herald

  4. I'm glad I found your blog. I have altered your template to reflect ELA concepts. Thank you!

  5. I'm having difficulty finding the link to the pinch card. Could you send it to

    I love this concept of whole class feedback!