# The Pyramid Game or A Race to the Top

After our #eduread chat and to further explain what I can’t in 140 characters or less, I was motivated/encouraged to blog about a game that I use in my class. I have always called it “The Pyramid Game,” but I noticed that other teachers call it “A Race to the Top”. It is a very versatile game, because it can be used with many different mathematical topics. Here is a great template made by Joanne Miller of Head over Heels for Teaching. I like to use a smaller version of this when I do not have that much time.

I have students draw five lines on the bottom row, four lines on the next row, until they have one line on the top row.

I give the students the numbers for the bottom row. Usually, I give them every other number until we are all ready to go.

Then I fill in the other two numbers and tell them if they are adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.

If they are adding, students add the two numbers next to each other and put the answer on the line above. They complete each row the same way until they get to the top. For incentive in my class, the first five students with the correct answer get a piece of candy. Each time, I stand in a different spot in the room to make things fair in their eyes, and students come up to me so I can see their answer.  If it’s correct, I say, “Number 1” for the first correct answer, “”Number 2” for the second correct answer, until I have five or so correct answers.  If a student has the wrong answer I tell them to try again and they go back to their seat to re-work the problem.  Ihave used this with integers and algebraic expressions with great success. Also, it is a great way to spiral back to review these concepts throughout the year. Please let me know if you use this game in another way, because I am always looking for ways to keep the students engaged in a fun and easy to prepare activity.

# Favorite Game

A favorite game for all of my students is the “Whiteboard Game”.  It is a game that I always use it the day before a test.  Teams are made upon the students in each row.  Every student gets a whiteboard, a dry-erase pen, and a paper towel.  I put a problem up on the board.  Students must work individually to solve the problem.  Students then raise their board so I can check the answers.  Once a board is up, the answer cannot be changed.  If everyone in the row gets the correct answer, the row gets a point.  The team with the most points at the end of class gets a piece of candy.  It’s amazing that students get very competitive, even though the prize is only a dum-dum lollipop.  I like it because I get to see if everyone is understanding the material.  It makes for a quick formative assessment.