Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rational Number Line Activity

Why am I so tired? Unlike most of you, I didn't have to work on Friday, so I should be completely well-rested! But, for some reason, I am exhausted. I bet you are wondering why we didn't have school on Friday. Well, in the great state of Texas, we LOVE our county and state fairs, and Friday was Fair Day. We haven't had Fair Day off since my first year of teaching, but we got a new superintendent this year and reinstating that was one of his first orders of business. I like this guy already!

I spent Friday organizing some things for my high school reunion which is NEXT weekend...can't believe it! 10 years has FLOWN by.

Anyhow, on to more important things: my activity from Thursday. When I taught 6th grade, I had cards with random positive rational numbers on them that the kids had to line up from least to greatest without talking. It was great fun, and they were mostly compliant. The different classes would compete against each other and the next morning they would all rush in to see which class was the fastest. Like I said, this was 6th grade. In case you missed things, I now teach 8th grade and they are way too cool for an activity like that.

So, I created new cards that are positive and negative rationals and put magnets on the back. Each kid got a card (some kids got two if there were less than 30 kiddos in a class) and they were put in groups of 5-6 students. Their first task was to order those cards in order from least to greatest. They all competed to be the first group done--yes! They were engaged! They were excited! They actually thought they would win something! Just kidding...there was a small prize!

Then, when two groups were finished, I had them combine their cards to order all of them from least to greatest. Just when they thought they were done...

 They worked really hard on this and were so proud when they called me over to check their work. Then, I had them order them on the board. Remember those magnets? That's what they were for! They could easily move these as more cards were added.

 As they were finished, other kids would come up to correct mistakes. It was awesome to see them all help each other!

Just about this time, my building principal and assistant superintendent walks in. Let me set the the outside observer, it is absolute chaos in my room. Kids are everywhere. Yellow cards are everywhere. Some students are so competitive that they are paying more attention to the timer than to the actual task. BUT, everyone was participating, and was able to explain the task. I call that a win!

How was your week?