Math Survivor Game!

Math Survivor!  Which team will be eliminated first?  Which team can survive?

img_9343After reading about Grudgeball on Elissa’s site and then here, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I decided to call it Math Survivor since we were “voting teams out of the competition”, and I didn’t have them shoot a nerf ball.  I’m glad I eliminated the nerf ball, because the voting people off took forever by itself!

I love jumping right in and trying new things.  However, sometimes this means I fail.  And fail I did at first!  I must have misread the instructions.  I thought that ALL teams got to erase x’s each time.  That made sense to me, as why else would they work hard to get the question correct?  However, it became obvious during my first class, when ALL teams were quickly eliminated, that my game had a flaw.  I adjusted it for the next class, letting them add points back more easily, but then everyone was just tied.  Finally, for my third class, I decided to let only one team at a time take off x’s.  DUH.  To keep kids active, I told them that if the team voting x’s off missed the question, I would roll dice to see which team got to take their turn.  This keep everyone motivated for every question.

The game I made is for Piecewise Functions and Transformations, but I also made a blank template.  Here are my rules, templates are below.

Goal:  To be the last team standing (still have x’s)


  1. Every team starts with 10 x’s.
  2. Every team works on every question.  Only one team at a time gets to eliminate x’s for each question.  I just rotated around the room.
  3. One team at a time gets to erase 2 x’s, if they get the question correct.  They can erase 2 x’s from one team, or erase one x from two teams.  They cannot commit suicide  (erase their own x’s).
  4.  If the designated team misses the question, then another team gets to erase the two x’s.  I rolled dice to decide which team.  You could also pick popsicle sticks.
  5. Once a team is eliminated, they cannot add x’s back, but they can still vote other teams out!  (Some teachers let teams add points back or eliminate x’s).
  6. I let kids make alliances.  It almost never works out!  Just like in the real Survivor, alliances quickly crumble.  lol!
  7. TIP:  Only let one person per group erase and make them decide BEFORE coming up to the board who they are going to eliminate.  Otherwise, peers from the other teams can influence them once they are at the board.  I even do a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… count down.  You can also ask them (have them write it on a white board, and erase the x’s yourself if you have a very enthusiastic or overly competitive class).

Blank Template and Piecewise Functions and Transformations Template.

Update: Thanks to the Twittersphere, I had some great feedback from Bowen Kerins!



Trashketball is AMAZING

It took me FOUR YEARS to get these Trashketball directions down to a science.  My kids can just read them and we are ready to go.  Plus, I have never seen my afternoon class of freshmen boys work so hard, on FRIDAY.  It almost made me cry from joy.  I seriously wish I could play Trashketball everyday.  Every. Day.

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I have included my Trashketball Powerpoint instructions for you to show your students.  It is crucial that they all pick a letter, M A T H or O, and that you randomly call them up by this letter to show you their answer and thus get to shoot.  This way ALL students are actively working out the problem on their own paper.  Then they work as a team to make sure everyone understands and gets the same answer.  It is amazing.  I use popsicle sticks to call out the letter.  They get one point for the correct answer.  If they get the correct answer, they get to shoot from the 2-pt or 3-pt line.  Also, I hung it from the wall with a Command hook, but the students want it higher.  lol!

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Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.40.56 PMFun stuff:  I play “Are You Ready To Rumble” from Jock Jams while they are reading the directions.  I have this COOL trashket I found a couple of years ago.  I have a 2-pt line and a 3-pt line.  It is a blast!  But best of all, they are so focused and work so hard!  Games for the win again!  I made dry-erase index card necklaces to write their letter on for middle schoolers, but my high school students wanted to wear them as well.  I really love freshmen.

I bought the Trashketball online at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for only $10!!

Making Middle School Magic – Powerpoint Jeopardy!

Yes. Today was simply magical in my 6th grade classes!  They came into class with Weird Al’s “I Lost On Jeopardy” rocking the classroom at full blast!  I had them dancing like crazy before class began.  I even had a few guess, “Are we going to play JEOPARDY?!?!?”

I put them in six groups (two to three students in a group) and gave them whiteboards. The rules were that ALL group members had to agree on the same answer and ALL members had to have all of the correct work on their boards. I went i order around the room and let each group pick a category/point value. However, if they MISSED the question then another group got to try to answer it. I picked this group by rolling a dice.

I used a PowerPoint Jeopardy game that I found online and tweaked. I found a Jeopardy theme song midi online and added it to all of the question slides. Although the music got really old for me by the middle of the second class, it added a bit of fun and even excitement to the game. The music made the kids try to “beat the clock”.

This game went so well! The kids worked harder than I have ever seen them work! Most importantly, they worked together better than I have ever seen! They were all intensely engaged and at the end of class they even BEGGED for just one more math problem!  (Which I of course could not help but give them – to the detriment of their next class, sorry JuRu.)

I need to work on this game some more as several of the links were corrupt. Also, you could not tell which questions had been selected. I am actually going to create my own game with all of the bells and whistles and then post it here so please check back!