with UNDERSTANDING

{ONE LESSON AT A TIME}

WHY have students work with a partner?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: **Enhance Engagement:**Partner activities make math lessons more interactive, engaging, and adds an element of enjoyment to math class.**Improve Communication Skills:**Partner activities encourage students to articulate their thought processes and explain concepts to their peers.**Increase Confidence:**Collaborative learning can boost students' confidence as they receive immediate feedback from their partners and build a sense of accomplishment together.**Diverse Perspectives:**Partner activities expose students to different approaches and perspectives, helping them understand multiple ways to solve mathematical problems.**Social Skills Development:**Working with a partner enhances social skills, such as teamwork, active listening, and cooperation, which are valuable both in and outside the classroom.**Reduce Math Anxiety:**Sharing the learning experience with a partner can alleviate math anxiety, making the subject more approachable and enjoyable for students.
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! 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.Educator's Review: 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 MathMath Partner Games, Spring Puzzles, and End of Year Activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th from Math Tech Connections4th and 5th Grade Math Partner Games from Jennifer FindleySpeed Dating from Teaching High School Math
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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 quickly.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 best part? 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. |

Are you searching for some fun and creative ways to practice quadratic equations? Then, you’re in the right spot! Quadratic equations can be such a cool topic to teach and practice if you have the right tools. I’ve rounded up some of the best activities to help your students review quadratics. We've got activities that include real world connections, graphing, factoring, and solving quadratics. You can check them all out below... |

Battle My Math Ship from Algebra and BeyondA game for two players who try to guess the location of each others ships that are hidden on a grid that can't be seen by their opponent. Choose whether students practice solving quadratics by factoring or square root method and sink ships to win the game! |

Quadratic Equations Sum Em Activity by Mrs E Teaches MathThis engaging group activity makes practicing quadratic equations exciting and rewarding for students. Working collaboratively in teams of four, students are challenged to solve unique quadratic equations through various solution methods. With each student contributing an answer to form a group sum, students gain valuable team-building and problem-solving skills while reviewing key algebra concepts in a fun, interactive way. |

Learn to Factor Quadratic Expressions: Free Online Lessons from Kate's Math LessonsCheck out these free online lessons to help your students learn how to factor quadratic expressions! There's an intro lesson that starts with leading coefficients of 1, and then a second lesson when students are ready to start factoring expressions with a > 1. Students will love the videos and practice quizzes with instant feedback! |

iStep Activity from Algebra and Beyond Students communicate the steps to solve a quadratic equation as if they are texting it to a friend. Choose between factoring or using the quadratic formula. I LOVE how these activities have transformed how students think and discuss math in class!!! |

Solving Quadratic Equations CARD SORT from Hoff Math Keep your students engaged with this fun Card Sort activity! Students solve quadratic equations (by factoring, completing the square, or using the Quadratic Formula) and match the equation with its solutions. |

Name That Function by Algebra and BeyondName That Function is an activity where students analyze graphs of quadratic functions and make connections to their characteristics. Students are given a fill-in-the blank table where some information is already given. Then they match the graphs to the characteristics and fill in the missing information. |

Always, Sometimes, Never by Math Giraffe Students determine whether each statement is "always true," "sometimes true," or "never true." They color each one accordingly and end up with a design that can be checked quickly for accuracy (but cannot be easily predicted by students). |

Doodlr Activity by Algebra and Beyond Sometimes students can best understand concepts when they connect visual graphs, symbols, etc. with words. This activity gives students the opportunity to do just that in a creative and fun way. Students are able to let their creative side shine in this activity. |

Quadratics Digital Escape Room using Google Forms by Absolute AlgebraThis is a NO PREP Escape Room! Just hand your Algebra I students the worksheet, give them the URL for the google form and they're ready to go! Your students will be practicing with quadratics while trying to find codes to "break out" of each section. |

Graphing Calculator Reference Sheet by Algebra and BeyondStudents practice finding the parts of a parabola by using these steps on either their TI-84 or TI-Nspire graphing calculator. Also, a great way for students to check their solutions when solving quadratic equations. |

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.

Blasting off with Rockets + Real World Quadratics by Moore than Just XBy the time many students get to Algebra 2, they feel burnt out in math. Quadratics give you a chance to ignite and excite them with math class once again! Projectile motion is the ultimate real world example of quadratics and rockets are just too fun to make (and launch!) It’s an amazing time for students to explore how quadratic equations are used in the real world. A fun way for them to answer the age old question “When am I ever going to need this?” |

I remember when I was in school and my teacher would say, “you have 15 minutes to complete your quiz and then we are moving onto the next activity”. It would make me panic and then I wasn’t able to focus to do my best work.

Therefore, one of the things I never want to do to my students is put pressure on them to finish an assessment in a certain amount of time, so the class could move onto the next task. It’s WAY too much pressure!

Of course, I can’t give them all day to complete it, BUT I can give them an ample amount of time to finish and check their work. But, by doing so, I may run into a few problems:

1 – Students that finish early will have nothing to do.

2 – We'd lose learning time, by allowing so much time for an assessment.

I didn’t want these things to happen either, so I created some quick, review activities for students to complete when they finished their assessments or work early. I call these iMath activities, which are based on everyone’s favorite apps. Below is a summary of each activity. Click on the image to link to the blog post with more detail about each activity. I specifically created them for an Algebra 1 course, but several of them can be used in 7th and 8th grade math as well.

Therefore, one of the things I never want to do to my students is put pressure on them to finish an assessment in a certain amount of time, so the class could move onto the next task. It’s WAY too much pressure!

Of course, I can’t give them all day to complete it, BUT I can give them an ample amount of time to finish and check their work. But, by doing so, I may run into a few problems:

1 – Students that finish early will have nothing to do.

2 – We'd lose learning time, by allowing so much time for an assessment.

I didn’t want these things to happen either, so I created some quick, review activities for students to complete when they finished their assessments or work early. I call these iMath activities, which are based on everyone’s favorite apps. Below is a summary of each activity. Click on the image to link to the blog post with more detail about each activity. I specifically created them for an Algebra 1 course, but several of them can be used in 7th and 8th grade math as well.

MATHBOOK ACTIVITIESMathbook’s design is similar to a Facebook post. Even if a student doesn’t use Facebook, this activity is engaging and fun for everyone! My students really like picking out their icons because it gives the activity a personal touch that most math activities do not offer. Also, receiving feedback from a peer helps create a positive classroom environment. |

iSTEP ACTIVITIES Often students can solve a math equation, but have a difficult time verbally explaining what they are doing. This activity addresses this problem. Each student is to “text” with a friend who needs help with a math concept. Their classmate asks how to solve an equation and the student has to explain each step needed in order to get a solution. I LOVE how these activities have transformed how students think and discuss math in class!!! |

ERRORGRAM ACTIVITIES Error analysis is a method used to identify common mistakes made in mathematics and the cause of the incorrect answer. According to Robert Marzano, error analysis is at the top of the higher level thinking skills and an aid in conceptual understanding. This ability to check for correctness is a big key to achieving math proficiency. It’s awesome to see the critical thinking that happens during these activities! |

DOODLR ACTIVITIES Making connections! Sometimes students can best understand concepts when they connect visual graphs, symbols, etc. with words. This activity gives students the opportunity to do just that in a creative and fun way. If your students already love doodle notes, then they for sure will love this activity! Students are able to let their creative side shine in this activity. |

FROM MY MATHTASTIC FRIENDS

*Click on each image to go to the activity.

5 Pillars of Math Intervention That Works– Amanda Nix, Free to Discover Not only are Math Skill Drills awesome for math intervention, they are the perfect way to meaningfully fill time - especially for early finishers. When students finish an assessment or assignment, prompt them to pull out their Skill Drill and squeeze in some practice! |

Skill-Building Equation Puzzles– Math Giraffe This set of challenge equation puzzles offers a fun approach to building problem-solving and algebra skills. You can also use these when teaching substitution or the transitive property. They are designed to help students build skills needed for solving systems of equations, even if they have never heard of systems before! They will be using substitution and the transitive property mentally, whether they know it or not. |

Geometry Vocabulary Word Search Activities– Kacie Travis, The Efficient Classroom Learning vocabulary is such an important part of learning geometry. These word search activities increase students' familiarity with the vocabulary words in a fun way! They are the perfect activity to distribute after a unit test, to early finishers, or for sub lesson plans. |

Mystery Graphs with Multiple Math Skills– Rise Over Run Students always love coordinate graph pictures! Instead of just practicing plot ordered pairs, why not incorporate other math skills as well? With these mystery graphs, students must first work out math problems to get their points. Then they graph them to reveal a picture. |

It is okay to provide a brain break for early finishers– Damman's Algebra room Planning for instruction that’s fun for your students (and you) doesn’t HAVE to be hard. In fact, it SHOULDN’T be. Collect and finds are a a double win! They are done for you and keep the early finishers occupied so you can focus on those who need more help. 🎉 Here is a free Collect and Find so you can see what they are all about. I promise, you will not be disappointed. |

Calling all NEW Middle School and High School Math Teachers!!! I have very important advice for you…the best advice I’m ever going to share…ready for it?!

**YOU CANNOT DO ALL THE THINGS!!!**

Yes, it’s in caps because I am shouting it!

I remember when I was a first-year teacher and I thought I was going to be the best teacher by creating amazing activities, make every lesson “fun”, get to know each student’s strengths and weaknesses to differentiate for each one, integrate real world projects in every unit of study, follow all the new education trends, etc. I learned pretty quickly that there are only so many hours in a day, and even though I’m a high energy person…I am just one person, and I definitely set my expectations way too high. Quite frankly, even veteran teachers can’t do all the things.

I’m not saying throw in the towel for*trying *to do all the things. What I’m saying is, YOU can’t do all the things yourself, nor all at one time.

**NOT ALL THE THINGS:**

**NOT ALL AT ONE TIME:**

If you are one of those teachers, like myself, that teaches several different grade levels, pick one grade level each year you REALLY want to focus on and improve it. Then, the next year, pick a different grade level. I set up a review cycle of content and implementation goals each year by grade level. It looks something like this:

Yes, it’s in caps because I am shouting it!

I remember when I was a first-year teacher and I thought I was going to be the best teacher by creating amazing activities, make every lesson “fun”, get to know each student’s strengths and weaknesses to differentiate for each one, integrate real world projects in every unit of study, follow all the new education trends, etc. I learned pretty quickly that there are only so many hours in a day, and even though I’m a high energy person…I am just one person, and I definitely set my expectations way too high. Quite frankly, even veteran teachers can’t do all the things.

I’m not saying throw in the towel for

- YOU don’t have to re-teach lessons to students who were absent or didn’t get it the first time. There’s YouTube for that.
- YOU don’t have to begin your first year knowing what works and doesn’t work. There are blog posts made by experienced teachers for that.
- YOU don’t have to create every fun activity yourself. There are activities all over the internet you can use….literally thousands and thousands of activities to choose from.
- YOU don’t have to do a real-world project for every single concept. Mini-lessons are great too! There is Desmos for that.
- YOU don’t have to follow every new education trend. Find ONE that will work best for your teaching style and your students. Then, implement that.

If you are one of those teachers, like myself, that teaches several different grade levels, pick one grade level each year you REALLY want to focus on and improve it. Then, the next year, pick a different grade level. I set up a review cycle of content and implementation goals each year by grade level. It looks something like this:

I’m basically saying this…YOU don’t have to know or do everything yourself, and you absolutely cannot implement it all at one time. Learn from those of us that have been around awhile, and definitely don’t re-invent the wheel. So many amazing ideas and activities are at your finger tips, thanks to the internet. And don't forget to come up with a system for improvements year after year, like my review cycle idea. A little at a time, done well, goes a long way!

You can find several tips on my BLOG. I’ve also asked some of my math friends to share their best tips…so here they are:

How to Get Secondary Students to Behave for a Substitute- Kacie Travis, The Efficient Classroom Teachers, let’s face it. It is easier to come to school sick than prepare for a sub. And the worst part is coming back to 3 pages of how poorly your class behaved. Oddly, you may have notes about students who have never stepped a toe out of line and it will make you wonder what got into your students and make you sick at your stomach all at the same time. It happens to the best of us. Be prepared for a sub by having these safe-guards in place. [READ MORE] |

Get off to a great start day 1! - Rise Over Run The first day of school sets the tone for the year. Engage students with a math activity, get to know them, and let them get to know you and your expectations. In this blog post, you'll find some favorite activities for the beginning of the school year. [READ MORE] |

Keeping it R.E.A.L. in Math Class- Amanda Nix, Free to Discover Congratulations on joining the elite group of crazy math teachers! You will now inevitably be asked, "when am I ever going to use this?" Well, you better make sure you're armed with an answer. Check out this post for four keys to keeping math R.E.A.L. for students. [READ MORE] |

Bellwork Keeps Me Sane- Mrs. E Teaches Math Teaching procedures is the most important thing you can do at the beginning of the school year. This beginning of class procedure saves my sanity and starts class on the right foot. It's not too late to implement in your classroom tomorrow! [READ MORE] |

High schoolers want fun too!- Damman's Algebra Room I'd like to let you in on a little secret, students love to play games and WORK hard for a piece of candy. ha! For real though, I strongly encourage you to give them a try. Check out this easy, low-prep game that incorporates movement and will guarantee 100% participation. [LEARN MORE] |

Math Teacher Hack: Use Sticker Paper for Notebooks (especially for coordinate planes!)- Math Giraffe Free Coordinate Plane Stickers, Graphic Organizers, and Tips: Using Sticker Labels to Make Math Notebooks Interactive, Easy, and Efficient [READ MORE] |

First Day of School (and beyond) Advice for New Math Teachers- Kate's Math Lessons I sent out a survey to over 10,000 math teachers. Here's a round-up of the advice they shared for new math teachers! [LEARN MORE] |

Classroom Management: How to Manage Middle Schoolers- Jamie Miller Math Let’s talk about classroom management; the thing that they don’t really teach you how to do in college (at least not when I was in school). Classroom management is something that many teachers struggle with during their first year of teaching and it can make or break your school year. I’m here to tell you that classroom management does get better! [READ MORE] |

I'm TYRA!

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.

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