After our Wednesday #eduread discussion on strategies to get kids up and moving, I thought I’d mention several activities I used in my 7th grade unit on decimals. I believe that students not only like to get out of their seats, but they also like variety.
The first activity that I had my students work on was balancing a checkbook. I handed them 11 checks and 4 deposits slips. They had to put them in order and then fill out the ledger sheet. For some of the students who needed a challenge, their account became overdrawn, giving them the practice with negative numbers.
For an activity in which everyone would review adding positive and negative decimals, I reworked The Bathers of Asnieres activity from Gunter Schymkiw’s Math Masterpieces so that the problems included adding with positive and negative decimals. Students did the problems first, which I copied onto construction paper. Once they showed me that they completed every problem, I gave them the second sheet, which was copied on regular copy paper. Students cut the squares out and glued them on the construction paper so that it created a picture. Since I wouldn’t be able to see their work after the squares were glued on, I walked around making sure students were not just figuring out the picture, but were checking their answers. Even though students were not up and out of their seats, using scissors and glue was different than the normal routine.
Finally, after reviewing adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals, I hosted a Dining with Decimals day, which I tweaked from Kelsey Gage’s Dining with Decimals. While students sat at tables with tablecloths and name cards and ate popcorn and drank iced tea, they chose an appetizer, dinner entrée, a beverage, and a dessert from the menu on the table. They had to figure out the cost of the bill. Then they added a 20% tip to the cost. Finally, they had to figure out if $20 was enough to cover their meal. With each computation, students were also finding the estimate. Again, they were not up and out of their seats, but the atmosphere was different.