Math = Love: Evaluating Expressions Question Stack

## Friday, September 9, 2016

### Evaluating Expressions Question Stack

Earlier this week, my Algebra 1 students took their second quiz of the year on evaluating expressions.  They spent the first two-thirds of class doing a practice activity I created and the last third of class taking their quizzes.

The activity I created was a question stack - one of my all time favorite practice structures!  Students received a deck of 10 double-sided cards.  One side of the card has an expression to evaluate and specifies what values you should substitute.  The other side of the card has an answer, but it's an answer to a DIFFERENT question.

Students start by laying out all the cards with the answers facing up.  This is the group's answer bank.  Students flip over a single card.  This is the start of their "question stack" and their first question to solve.  After solving that question, students pick up the corresponding question card and place it on top of the question card they just solved.  The question and answer should now be facing each other.

Now, students solve the new question and the process continues until they have worked through all the cards.  I love this activity due to its self-checking nature.  It lets me easily focus on which groups need help.  Students can't move on until they figure out the answer.  This means that they start helping each other, and they start actually asking for help!  We use our dry erase boards to work out the problems which always makes practice a bit more fun.

Here's an example of what a card looks like:

This was definitely a worthwhile practice activity, and it's a must-do for the future.

This activity was designed to align to the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Algebra 1.  The standard is A1.A.3.4 Evaluate linear, absolute value, rational, and radical expressions. Include applying a non-standard operation.

There are no non-standard operations in this activity because we reviewed them the previous day.  That didn't go well, but that's another story for another day!

Here's what the two sides of the template for this activity look like:

 Questions

These turn out to be pretty easy activities to make.  I made a special template to make my life even easier.

I've uploaded the file for the evaluating expressions activity here.  You can also download the generic template here as a Publisher file.