Please help me make this lesson better. The main problem was that the students did not get to practice enough problems (the rotation and the checking slowed us down).
My students need help writing equations for word problems. Most often, they read the problem and scratch out an answer – with nary an equation in site! To help fix this, I wanted to practice writing equations to simple, one and two step equation word problems. I did not want it to be boring AND I wanted students to work together. With the help of the wonderful Twitterverse, I decided to do a “Pass the Problem” activity. (Thanks so much to @wahedahbug, @approx_normal, and @cgramatges for the idea and inspiration!)
Each student received their own answer sheet to record their work. Each partner group received a word problem and a small answer sheet that went with the word problem.
For each problem, the students had to do the work individually on their own answer sheet, compare their answer with their partner, come up with the best joint answer, and then write that answer on the small answer sheet. We did one step at a time, and then passed the word problem with it’s answer sheet, to the next pair of partners. The steps were
- Define the variable
- Write an equation
- Solve the problem
- Write the solution in words to see if it makes sense.
I had color coded word problems (by level of difficulty) and used my table top dry erase frames to put them in. This made reading the problem and passing it easier. Also, at each step the new partners checked the past work, and made corrections when a problem was incorrect (as well as noting it on the sheet).
I liked the thought of this idea. But, all of the passing seemed confusing. I also felt that the students did not receive “closure” with any one problem. And, we only were able to get through three sets of word problems, so I don’t think that the students got enough practice. Plus, it was too “teacher directed” and high maintenance. I like it when the activity runs itself so I am more available to walk around and help students. I would love to make this activity better. Help!