Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thoughtful Bell Ringers

While researching a topic on the internet, I stumbled across this really great site that is perfect for warm-ups or bell ringers or when you want to work on developing their ability to explain choices.  Its called Would You Rather?

This activity has pictures with an open ended question but which ever one, A or B, you choose you have to explain your answer.  Depending on the problem, you may be required to justify your answer with mathematics.

The problems  usually use a real world scenario such as pizza, chips, apples, or even sports teams.  Some of the problems include a link so you can add activities in or at least read up on the topic so you know more about it.  If it deals with sports, I usually have to look things up because I love Australian Rules but that is not a sport my students know about so I have to use theirs.  The author has 9 pages of these lovely thought provoking questions.

Another site I found that could also be used during bell ringers or warm ups is something called Visual Patterns.   This site has 220 patterns that show the first three iterations in the pattern and then asks you to find the number of objects if the pattern is repeated to level 43.  They also ask for the equation but they only provide the answers for the pattern to level 43.

These visual patterns are wonderful because they do offer some great thought but I would add that students need to show how they got their answer by showing their work in some manner.  This activity requires higher level thinking because you have to figure out the mathematical pattern or equation in order to find the answer to the question.

The final site if from Estimation 180 which is a site designed to help develop number sense.  There are about 220 pictures, each with a question requiring students to estimate the height of someone or something, estimate the number of things, etc.  All questions that help fine tune their number sense.  I looked at one that showed one cheetos cheese ball on a cookie sheet and asked students to estimate how many will it take to fill the tray.  He does not give one answer, he actually provides a video answer for the question.

In addition to these short activities, Estimation 180 also has lesson plans for grades 4 to 8 with a variety of topics such as expressions and equations, geometry etc.  I like that the lesson plans are actually more of a here is what I did, this is what my students responded, and this is where I got the material from.  

 I love these types of activity because these are a way of developing math literacy in the classroom.  I plan to use these as openers in my classroom so students have something to work on while I take roll and do the usual housekeeping during the first 5 min of class.  I'd like to thank US News and World Report for these websites.