I critiqued a lesson plan found at the following address:

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/MathConstructAlgebraLinearEquationsReviewBoardGame910.htm

My review starts with a synopsis, then a critique. Finally, I’ve copied the full plan at the end of the review.

Title – Solving Linear Equations – Review Game

By – Rebecca Hooper

Grade Level – 9-10

Synopsis of the plan:

The class breaks up into small groups. Each group is responsible for developing a board game, where points are won based on correctly answering linear algebra questions. The students are responsible for finding the questions (on the web), creating an answer key, and designing the board game. The questions are to cover varying levels of difficulty:

1. Equations using addition and subtraction.

2. Equations using multiplication and division.

3. Two or more step linear equations.

4. Equations that have variables on both sides of the equation.

5. Equations involving decimals and fractions.

Once the games have been developed, the groups exchange and play each others games. The plan is envisioned as an end of the unit review tool.

I like this plan because of the active learning (or reviewing in this case) that it promotes. Students are on their own to find linear algebra problems which fit different categories and create an answer key for those problems. They also are able to use creativity in designing the game. In order to carry out this plan, students will have to differentiate between different types of linear algebra problems. This will cause them to be mentally engaged in the activity. They also have a chance for physical activity as well as design activity in creating the games. So the lesson plan engages different types of learning styles and mental reinforcement pathways.

On the other hand, they will play the games after they have created them. This will exercise their knowledge of the topic. With its social and competitive aspects, this seems like a fun way to review for a test.

One negative I see in this plan is the expectation that it will take 4 hours of class time. This seems like much too much. Do teachers have that kind of time for a unit review? My perception is that reviews typically are planned for a single period. I would suggest some adjustments to the plan to reduce the amount of class time needed for it. Some aspects of it could be assigned as homework before the unit is completed, such as finding the problems on-line, and thinking about game designs. Then for class, one period could be used for the groups to finalize their game designs and create the games, and another where they play the games. This is still 2 class periods rather than 1, but its less than 4.

From the point of problem solving and posing, this task is good that it gives students a chance to create problems, which will engage them in higher level mental activity of synthesis and creation. This, in turn, will lead to a more permanent understanding of the material. From the point of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the plan is good in that it engages at least 3 of the 4 higher level categories in the taxonomy:

Analyzing – which the students need to do to categorize the problems

Evaluating – since creating the game requires checking, experimenting and testing

Creating – since they will be designing, planning, and constructing.

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http://www.lessonplanspage.com/MathConstructAlgebraLinearEquationsReviewBoardGame910.htm

Title – Solving Linear Equations – Review Game

By – Rebecca Hooper

Primary Subject – Math

Grade Level – 9-10

Introduction:

Solving linear equations is a cornerstone of Algebra and other higher level math classes. The skills involved are critically important to the students’ confidence and success within high school mathematics. In this project, students develop a board game that help their peers review solving linear equations. This project requires internet access as the students will use various websites to collect sample problems of varying degrees of difficulty. The entire project should use about 230 minutes of instruction time. Adjust as needed.

Overview:

Students work in groups of 2 or 3 to create a board game that reviews solving linear equations. The students use the internet to research math problems as well as develop a key of correct answers for each question in the game. After games have been constructed, the students play each other’s games.

Goals:

Students will work together to research, plan, and construct a board game.

* Students will follow the teacher’s guidelines to complete the project.

* Students will solve linear equations of varying degrees of difficulty.

Rationale:

Students have the opportunity to:

* work in groups

* review skills needed for all higher level math classes Algebra and above

* review for chapter/unit test

* review for exam

* review for end of course test

SC state standards:

Algebra 1/Math Tech 1&2

Standard EA-1…all indicators

Standard EA-4…indicator 4.7

Objectives:

1. The student will solve one step linear equations using addition and subtraction.

2. TSW solve one step linear equations using multiplication and division.

3. TSW use two or more steps to solve linear equations.

4. TSW solve linear equations that have variables on both sides of the equation.

5. TSW solve linear equations involving decimals and fractions.

Materials:

* access to the internet

* Algebra 1 textbook

* posterboard

* cardstock paper, notebook paper

* pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils

* rulers/straightedges

* dice

* game pieces

* calculators

Directions:

1. Spend a few minutes introducing the project providing a handout if desired.

2. Explain guidelines and student responsibilities. Student responsibilities should be developed by the individual teacher. Sample guidelines are as follows:

1. Players will advance around the board.

2. Each player should have his/her own game piece.

3. How will the winner be decided?

4. Game questions will be various linear equations to be solved by the player.

5. Calculators and scratch paper will be allowed.

6. Directions and answer key will be provided.

3. Organize students into groups of 2 or 3. Allow the groups time to plan, organize, and use the internet to research game questions. Be sure the students use a variety of questions with various levels of difficulty.

4. Allow the groups time to construct their games.

5. After groups have finished making their games, allow the students to play other groups’ games.

* This game could really be used in a variety of settings and subject areas. Have fun!