Old Math Guy

Last week we gave the PSAT to all the 10th and 11th graders at our school. The seniors had a special assembly and freshmen reported to their homeroom class. The homerooms are assigned by building alphabetically, so the students in our homeroom are usually not in any of our classes. I happened to have a sophomore homeroom this year, so I spent the morning proctoring the PSAT. [I swear three minutes sometimes seems like an eternity when you waiting for the session to end.] Needless to say, it was a long day. So testing ate up the first four hours of the day, then I saw my Geometry class and then one of my five algebra classes for only an hour (classes are usually 90 minutes). By the end of that day, everyone was fried - my students had either spent the morning testing or sitting in their homeroom bored.  But I do not ever give free days, so I knew I wanted to do something that will help them with the linear functions unit we were working on, but a standard lesson was not going to hold their attention today.

My friend, Amanda, at Free to Discover, has an awesome set of products called, "Old Math Guy," that I have been wanting to try out, and this was the perfect opportunity. I decided on Matching Linear Graphs to Equations in Slope Intercept Form.  I asked the kids if anyone knew how to play "Old Maid," and a few said they did. I had a few kids tag-team explaining the rules of "Old Maid." Then one of my students said, "Did you bring in cards for us to play Old Maid?" I nodded. Then he said, "Wait, these are going to have math problems on them, aren't they?" I said, "Of course they are!" The rules are the same as Old Maid - they look for matches and lay them down and they draw from their neighbors hand until all the cards are out and someone ends up with the Old Math Guy.

My students had a lot of fun with this activity, and I overheard some great conversations about what made a "match." The students would watch each other like hawks to make sure their equations really matched their graphs (attend to precision!). Some students had good poker faces with Old Math Guy and some didn't. They all had fun, and it was a great brain break for the end of a long, off-schedule day.

I think this is a great engaging activity that I cannot wait to use again! With the holidays coming up, we need a lot of tricks up our sleeve, and this one kept their attention and allowed for great practice in a unique way.

Amanda even has a freebie in her store to try out with your kiddos: Old Math Guy Translating Algebraic Expressions 

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