Math = Love: What Can I Do With This?

## Sunday, October 13, 2013

### What Can I Do With This?

Okay guys.  I need some help.  My parents are amazing.  They have supported me every step of the way in my teaching endeavor.  They helped me move to Drumright.  They helped me set up my classroom.  They painted the walls.  They installed a dry erase board for me.  They built me bulletin boards.  My mom is always on the lookout for cool things that I can use in my classroom.  Sometimes, though, she buys me things to use even if she can't think of a use for them.

This is one of those things.  An ice cream bucket full of pink and blue foam washers.  I've had these for months now, and I still haven't figured out what to use them for.  So, I'm asking you!  What can I do with these?

 Foam Washers

1. You can use them instead of the snowflakes in this activity: http://simplifyingradicals2.blogspot.com/2013/10/snowflake-posters-and-multi-step.html

2. You could use them as a manipulative for adding and subtracting integers. My students like making zero pairs to find the result more than using a number line. Leads to drawing plus and minus signs when manipulatives are not available.

3. I agree with Kathryn, they could be used in place of algebra tiles. Or could use them as points while plotting. I just teach 6th grade math, so I might not be using the correct terms, but couldn't you arrange them in patterns or coded expressions and challenge your students write expressions...make them justify their interpretation in writing? That seems like an open ended higher level activity that you could do.

4. My first thought was also adding and subtracting integers, though I hope for your sake your students are comfortable with those rules in high school. In middle school, we work with that a lot! I can also see using these as markers for board games, depending on their size. Use them as manipulatives for probability. Divide the class into teams (put an equal number of each color into a bag and have them draw blindly). Your students might have other ideas.

5. I saw a pin that had this suggestion: "Another day I’ll pass out two or three poker chips to every student. As we begin the discussion I ask each student to give me back a chip each time they answer a question. Rapidly the talking students use up their chips. Since they can no longer speak in the class it leaves the non-talking students to answer the remaining questions" (original site: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/classroom-discussion-professors-share-favorite-strategies-for-engaging-students/ ) I need to start doing this paired with forced wait time to stop the same 2 people answering my questions. :)

1. I use chips in a similar fashion in an inclusion math class. On test days, I give each student 2 chips. They may choose to ask up to 2 questions during the test and I take a chip for each question asked. Any unused chips can be converted into an extra credit point on the test.

2. I like both these ideas!

6. Fyi these disks are ammo for this type of toy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000A2R556/ref=cm_sw_r_an_am_ap_am_us?ie=UTF8.

7. 1. Algebra tiles (blue = positive; red = negative, or reverse the colors!)

2. Probability experiments (groups get random handful of washers -- compare individual groups with each other; how do individual groups' counts relate to the whole;

3. Normal distribution experiment: set up a large grid. then toss handfuls of the washers. Students get to see the actual distribution of the washers. How does it compare with the expected distribution? What factors might affect the actual vs. predicted results?

4. Use on an overhead wash-line to score student games (Jeopardy, etc.), kind of like how old pool-rooms would keep score.

8. Hi. I use double sided coloured counters for teaching negative number addition and subtraction using a MAT called a 'Sea of zeroes'. Google it... It is very interesting.

9. Hi,
I would use them for Probability lesson
and also to create groups in a given ratio, e.g, - divide a class of 20 kids into 2 groups in a ratio of 2:3

10. There is this activity from ETA's Super Source called Geo-Hoops that I use with my students when we study mean, median, and mode. Basically, each player throws 5 pipe cleaner hoops onto a 5x5 geoboard and points were awarded based on how the hoop lands on the board. These look like perfect hoops for that activity. There is a lot more that could be analyzed with this game statistically than mean, median, and mode. I wish I had more time to explore them with my students.

1. Sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing!

11. You could make a Towers of Hanoi activity to explore the Exponential Function as to move n washers the function is 2^n-1. Have a look at this page for a little more info: http://colalg.math.csusb.edu/camdemo/exponentials/src/hanoi.html

1. I love this idea! It sounds like the perfect thing to do with my Algebra 2 students after we finish with state testing!

12. I do an activity with paper lunch bags and plastic poker chips (you could use the washers) where I have questions written out on an index card with two lunch bags with different answers behind them. Students have to read the question and then drop their poker chip into the bag with the correct answer. This works well with yes/no, true/false, sometimes/always/never questions so that you can reuse the lunch bags, but you can also use questions that require specific answers. I usually have 6-8 questions with lunch bags placed around the room.

My students love to move around the classroom, and answering the questions turns into a game for them. You can't give them a grade for their work, but this activity is a great formative assessment to see how well your students understand a topic. I would probably give the blue chips to my middle-high achieving students and the red chips to my low-middle achieving students, so that I could gain a better understanding of which students were successfully answering the questions. You could even differentiate by giving the low-middle achieving students one or two fewer chips.

1. I like this! Thanks for sharing!