Math = Love: Combining Like Terms Maze

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Combining Like Terms Maze

To give my students some practice on combining like terms, I assigned them to work through a combining like terms maze in their groups.  I found this maze online here (page 12 of the PDF)!  It looks like it's form some sort of enrichment workbook or resource, but I'm not sure where it is from exactly.  If you recognize this and know the source, please let me know so I can share it with others!

The PDF was a bit messy looking, so I did some cutting and pasting to pretty it up.  My prettied-up version is posted here.      

I printed a class set and slid them into one of my favorite tools - dry erase pockets!  You can find these super cheap on Amazon by searching for "shop ticket holders."  They turn any activity into a dry-erase activity.  This means you can make less copies and use the same set of copies year after year!  My favorite dry erase markers to use with students are these pen style dry erase markers that are made by Universal.  If you shop around and price check with other sites (I've often found them the cheapest at Shoplet or Zerbee), you can get them for around $2.00/dozen!    

After passing these out to my class, I instructed them to read the instructions before starting.  They obviously didn't listen to me because I was soon being asked "Do we start from the top or the bottom?"  Ugh.  I'm five years into this teaching thing, and I still don't know how to get my students to read the instructions.

I thought this maze would be a BREEZE for my students to complete, but they found it really tricky.  In retrospect, we should have done a lot more practice problems on our dry erase boards BEFORE I gave them this maze!  What I do love about this maze is that all of the problems are made to look liek they could possibly simplify to 3m^2 + n.  So, students really have to think critically!    


  1. I had ordered dry erase pockets but they were on back order and never sent me any. Alternative: sheet protectors work great too!

    Thanks for sharing! I'll be using this next week.

  2. I'm wondering about " In retrospect, we should have done a lot more practice problems on our dry erase boards BEFORE I gave them this maze!" It sounds like the maze raised a lot of the questions you'd want, and was more problematic this way. Would you really want to do more equipping?

  3. Once again, thank you Sarah for sharing your work with all of us.

  4. I LOVE tantrix... I had a set at my old school... I had to leave it behind.

    Question on Challenge one with the orange shapes, it says make a square with exactly one shape. Should that be some other number??? Thanks!