WHY have students work in pairs?
Just like everyone wants a best friend, because life is better when it's shared with someone else, most students want to work with a partner in math class. And there are many benefits to working together:
And on top of all the above, students are going to level up their understanding of math! And, let's face it, that's the main goal!
HOW can students work in pairs?
Of course, if you were to ask students about their ideal way of teaming up, you’d probably get responses like, "I'll do the odd-numbered problems, and my partner can do the even ones." BUT, that’s NOT at all the approach I have in mind for working in pairs.
You need carefully crafted activities that are set up for students to team up and tackle their own challenges. Well, you’re in luck! I have a few activities that meet this criteria. Each of them will help improve your students' math skills!
#1 My ever popular Battle My Math Ship Games! IMO this is THE BEST PARTNER ACTIVITY ever! Students take turns attacking spaces and sinking ships, just like the original game of Battleship. You can print and go or have your students play digitally. Over 100 different math concepts to choose from, so you can find the exact review for your students. Perfect to enhance engagement and reduce math anxiety!
Educator's Review: If you aren't using the Battle My Math Ship resources yet...you are ABSOLUTELY missing out. The students love the game - and it evens the playing field a bit for struggling students as there is a little luck involved. My students wish there was math battleship for every topic they study. Zero prep (make a copy) and go. – Allyson B.
Learn more about this game and find out what educators are saying HERE.
#2 Take the hassle out of checking math problems with these Partner Check review activities. These user-friendly, printable worksheets are designed to promote independent learning, reinforce math skills, and give students instant feedback. Perfect for building confidence and sharing different perspectives! You can learn more about these dynamic activities HERE.
What educators are saying about these activities...
Wow! My students were so engaged. Each wanted to be the first to get them all right. I love the way they excitedly continued to the end, celebrating each success with fist pumps and "I rocked this!" Thanks for a great resource. – Jeana H.
I really enjoyed using this activity with my students. I like for them to work in partners to practice the skills we learn, but I find that sometimes one person does all the work while the other just copies/listens to the other. This activity was a great way for both people to be actively engaged in the process of practicing skills. – Danielle O’Haren
These "sets" are great! I love that there are several options in each pack--single student, partners, and triples! These are favorites with my students and good conversations arise when the answers are not the same. My students are enjoying this activity and I hope to have all of these in my tool box. – E.G.
#3 These no-prep, iStep activities are designed similar to iMessage. Each sheet includes a problem to solve and text bubbles for verbal steps and student work. Great activity for partners. Perfect review activity for after an assessment or early finishers! Perfect for improving communication skills and social skills! You can learn more about these activities HERE.
#4 These Mathbook activities are designed similar to Facebook. Each sheet includes space for a student profile picture, name, date, emoji, an “I can” statement, a math problem to solve, and space for the teacher or a peer to put their profile picture and write a positive comment. Perfect for improving communication skills and social skills! You can learn more about these activities HERE.
Learn about some other FUN partner activities …
Top 3 Strategies for Effective Partner Work in the Middle School Math Classroom from Lauren Fulton Math
Math Partner Games, Spring Puzzles, and End of Year Activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th from Math Tech Connections
4th and 5th Grade Math Partner Games from Jennifer Findley
Speed Dating from Teaching High School Math
Hey there, mathtastic educators! I'm always on the lookout for fresh ways to support you all, and guess what? Your input has sparked some fantastic ideas that I'm super excited to share. I ran a giveaway over at the Algebra and Beyond Community where I threw in a survey to pick your brains. Turns out, there is a need for review activities that your students can work on independently, giving the ability to check answers in a snap.
Now, here's the interesting part: while the digital world is overflowing with self-check options, I noticed a gap in the PRINTABLE department. So, I put on my thinking cap, did a bit of brainstorming, and voila! I've come up with a resource that not only serves as a rock-solid review but is also self-checking. The cherry on top? You're getting not one, not two, but THREE resources in one! Yup, handouts for individual, partner, or groups of three, each with different problems but those golden matching answers! Ready to dive in and make review a breeze? Let's do this!
Above are the results from the teacher survey. I've included the Top 5 requested resources by teachers. Other resources needed, but not listed above, include graphic organizers, assessments, guided notes, lessons, homework, and instructional videos.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THESE ACTIVITIES?
These user-friendly, printable resources are designed to promote independent learning and reinforce essential math skills. They are the perfect addition to your math toolkit, ensuring that your classroom remains dynamic and adaptable to individual learning needs.
THREE ACTIVITIES INCLUDED:
Included with each activity are the corresponding answers. Each activity features different math problems, guaranteeing you can make the most out of each one.
Let's explore the versatility of these review activities and how you can seamlessly incorporate them into your classroom:
WHY ARE THESE ACTIVITIES HELPFUL?
Instant Feedback: Each activity includes self-check mechanisms, allowing students to instantly assess their understanding and correct mistakes. This promotes a growth mindset by encouraging active learning and independent problem-solving.
Print-and-Go Convenience: With printable PDF format, you can easily print as many copies as needed. Simply download, print, and distribute.
Promotes Independence: These activities encourage students to take charge of their learning process. By checking their own work, students become more independent learners, encouraging a sense of responsibility.
Encourages Critical Thinking & Reflection: Self-checking activities often involve problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and reflective learning. Students are not just calculating answers but also evaluating the correctness of their solutions, promoting a deeper understanding of mathematical principles.
Flexible Learning Pace: Students can progress at their own pace with self-checking activities. Those who grasp concepts quickly can move ahead, while others may take more time to review and reinforce their understanding without feeling rushed.
Reduces Teacher Workload: With self-checking activities, teachers can focus more on guiding students and addressing individual needs rather than spending excessive time on grading. This can be especially beneficial in classrooms with limited time and resources.
Long-Term Retention: The combination of immediate feedback, independence, and engagement contributes to better retention of mathematical concepts. Students are more likely to remember and apply what they've learned when they actively participate in the self-checking process.
DO STUDENTS ENJOY THESE ACTIVITIES?
Here are some reviews I've received about these activities:
Wow! My students were so engaged. Each wanted to be the first to get them all right. I love the way they excitedly continued to the end, celebrating each success with fist pumps and "I rocked this!" Thanks for a great resource.- Jeana H.
I used this to keep students focused while I pulled some for small group instruction. The fact that they could check themselves without interrupting my small group made everything run smoothly. Thanks for a great resource! – Anissa F.
This was a great resource for my students to practice their skills of systems of equations. Students loved how they could work at their own pace and self-check!
– Ms. Novak in the Middle
This was a great way to provide some review of what my students learned in 5th grade. They loved working together to get the correct answers. It's much more engaging than working on their own. – Christine N.
I really enjoyed using this activity with my students. I like for them to work in partners to practice the skills we learn, but I find that sometimes one person does all the work while the other just copies/listens to the other. This activity was a great way for both people to be actively engaged in the process of practicing skills. I also like the option for having three people in a group or the option of having students work independently with the same setup! I will definitely be looking into other skills with this same Self-Checking Options. – Danielle O.
Can’t wait to get your hands on the Self-Check Activities?! No problem, I have one waiting for you for FREE!!!
Are you already convinced that your students will LOVE this activity?! Awesome!!! I've created these activities for Grades 6, 7, 8, and Algebra 1. You can find ALL the Self-Check Activities HERE.
If you’ve visited my website before, you know I’m all about real-world math projects that come straight from my classroom. Today, I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal my process of creating these projects from the beginning to the end. That’s right, I’ll explain my FIVE “must haves” for designing math projects. This blog post is your access to fresh ideas and handy tools, so you can create your own math projects for your classroom! Let the creativity begin…
If you want ALL the Math Project Must Have details via video and download the FREE notes and example project, CLICK HERE.
Real World Connection
Why does this matter? By exploring the common question of “how does math apply to real life?”, we are naturally unlocking student interest. Connecting the math they are learning to everyday situations makes it easier for them to understand and keeps students engaged because it’s relatable.
Plus, real-world projects are training for the future. When students create projects that mirror actual situations they might encounter later in life, they are getting a sneak peek into the challenges and problem-solving they’ll face.
Why do students need this? Knowing the objectives and directions for a math project is like having a roadmap for a journey. It gives students a clear sense of what needs to be done and the knowledge and skills they will demonstrate along the way.
Objectives – helps students grasp the purpose of the project
Directions – act as a guide, explaining the steps to take to complete the project
Alignment – ensures that the project accurately matches your standards
A handout not only helps students stay organized, but also keeps them focused on the key aspects and assists them to work more efficiently.
What’s the purpose of this? A rubric breaks the project down into bight-sized pieces, making it easier to understand the expectations and levels of proficiency. It also allows you to weight different aspects of the project by importance.
You may be wondering if having an example project is really necessary? The answer is a resounding YES! Let me explain why. I was filling in for another teacher and the students were starting a new project. Quite a few of them wished they had an example to look at, so they knew what a finished project would look like. That got me thinking–this visual aid is gold for students, perhaps even more important than the rubric.
I’ve always made it a point to include an example project for my students because, let’s face it, student directions and a rubric don’t always paint a full picture. A visual example though? Now that’s the game-changer students need to create an amazing project.
Let’s face it, answer keys are the holy grail for math teachers for efficiency and making grading student work a breeze. It’s also crucial to be able to check students’ answers as they work through a project.
Designing projects that facilitate unique answers for every student is my goal, however, this makes it tricky to create an answer key. I have a few tips on how to easily create answer keys that can be used to quickly type in each student’s unique answer to see if they are correct.
I’ve revealed my FIVE key elements for creating a quality math project and why they’re game changers. Are you excited to learn HOW you can add all of these elements into your own projects? Mathtastic! I’ve got a FREE video session and downloadable handouts waiting for you, so you can take your projects to the next level! Let’s make learning math a whole lot more exciting!
Don’t have time to make your own math projects? I totally understand, that's why I've got you covered! Check out my favorite real world math projects by clicking on this image:
Looking to Solve Quadratics?
Looking to Analyze Quadratic Graphs?
Looking for Real World Applications?
Real World Projects and Applications by Algebra and Beyond
Connecting quadratic concepts to real life really helps students understand how and why we learn about quadratics. You can do this in the form of a project or a handout with real world scenarios.
I hope these activities help your students practice and review quadratics!!!
Let’s talk math projects….
As a teacher, I love to implement projects into as many units of study as possible. Projects can push students to use a higher level of thinking, because often, projects include more creativity, application, evaluation and analyzation than the average assignment or activity. This is a great way for us, as teachers, to see that students’ have the capability to expand upon their skill set.
Students also enjoy doing something outside the normal lesson. Projects can give students’ choice, which can boost their engagement and motivation, allow them to capitalize on their interests and strengths, and enable them to meet their individual learning needs.
Projects are a teacher and student win-win! Therefore, my math friends and I want to share with you some of our FAVORITE math projects that you can use in your classroom!
Let’s start with the projects I use in my classroom…
Students ALWAYS ask how will we use this math in the real-world?! Therefore, I create projects that have students use their math skills in real-world scenarios. They're also perfect for a summative assessment at the end of a unit OR integrated within a unit. Either way, you are answering that forever dreaded question of how math is used in real life! Read about some of the projects I’ve created for my students:
– Kacie Travis, The Efficient Classroom
Looking for a way to assess or reinforce what your Geometry students have learned? This project combines Geometry with the craze of “The Selfie!” It assesses the student's ability to apply Geometry concepts to the real world with a fun, highly relevant spin!
Design a Game Show Using Probability
- Rise Over Run
Students use what they know about probability to create their own game show. They can get creative and even test out their games! Instructions are included to guide students in designing a game based on a simple event, designing a game based on a compound event, explaining the probabilities of winning, and choosing prizes based on a budget and probabilities of winning.
Math is Everywhere Project
– Middle School Math Man
Get students thinking about how they see math in the real world with this Math is Everywhere Project. Students combine art and math to create a tile that shows how they see math outside of the classroom. These make an amazing bulletin board display!
I'm an educational blogger and curriculum designer. I am enthusiastic about providing creative, comprehensive, and clear resources for middle and high school math teachers. My goal is to create content that is easy to implement for the teacher, and helps students Connect Knowledge with Understanding - One Lesson at a Time.