It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with @mathequalslove’s Question Stack structure. It’s a great way for students to work independently while self-checking their answers. I created my own stacks for practice with laws of exponents, polynomials, and factoring. But, when it came time for our unit on solving equations, I was beginning to think I needed to change things up a bit. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so I knew my students would be more restless than usual – a perfect day for doing something a little different.
A quick search for practice on solving two-step equations led me to an activity called “Solving Equations Dominoes”. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to replicate the activity and make a few changes to better fit my lesson. The style of activity is very similar to using question stacks, except that students must match up the question side with the answer side on each domino to form a chain. I chose to add a few incorrect dominoes in to the mix, which messed a few students up when they lost their negative sign. But it provided me with the opportunity to address their error with them, rather than having the students just pick the opposite answer when they realized their answer wasn’t one of the available choices.
The activity worked great! My usually boisterous class was focused and engaged. Although the practice itself wasn’t much different than a worksheet, there’s something about cutting, pasting, and moving things around that is more captivating of high-school students’ attention than writing answers on a paper.
I liked the activity so much that I decided to make two templates – one for 11 questions and one for 14 questions. Of course, I will need to be careful to not overuse the structure (like I may have done with the questions stacks!), but it’s good to have one more tool in the toolbox!