Math = Love: Turkeys in the Oven Game to Review Calculating Slope and Intercepts and Writing Linear Equations

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Turkeys in the Oven Game to Review Calculating Slope and Intercepts and Writing Linear Equations

Last Friday, I decided my Algebra 1 students needed a day of reviewing calculating slope and intercepts and writing linear equations.  I wanted them to do a bunch of practice problems, but I also wanted it to seem like a game.  In October, we played Ghosts in the Graveyard, and it ended up being a lot of fun.  

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I decided a game of "Turkeys in the Oven" would be appropriate.  Here's what a game of Turkeys in the Oven looks like in action: 

This picture is from first period.  I drew the first two ovens myself, and a student volunteered to draw the second two ovens.  If you know me in person, you probably know that I am not the best artist in the world.  So, I am pretty proud of how these ovens turned out!!!  

I typed up ten challenge cards for my students to work through.  Each challenge card featured a picture of a graph and a place to write the equation, slope, x-intercept, and y-intercept.  If the x-intercept was not clearly visible, students also had to show their work for figuring out the x-intercept.  They HATED this part!!!

Each group had a dry erase pocket, and they would slide the challenge problem they were currently working on into the pocket.  Seriously, I can't say enough good things about these dry erase pockets.  They get SO much use in my classroom.  If you want a set for your own classroom, the cheapest way to go is to search for "shop ticket holders" on Amazon (affiliate link).  They are the exact same thing - just cheaper!

I got the images for the graphs from released state test questions from previous years.

Here are the 10 challenges I created:

I also introduced a new aspect of the game this time.  I made a tracking sheet that each group brought up with them when they came to get their answers checked.  Whenever they would complete a challenge, I would mark off the appropriate number on the sheet with an aqua blue sharpie.  Originally, I had planned to use my stampers for this, but it turns out the ink has dried up in them.  Sad day.  But, a marker did the trick.

This tracking sheet served several purposes.  

1.  It gave students an idea of how many problems they had completed.  
2.  It gave me an idea of how many problems students were completing. 
3.  It kept groups from doing the same easy problems over and over and over to earn more turkeys.  
4.  It allowed me to give a grade to the groups based on how well they participated in the activity.  

This time, I found turkey clip art and gave a turkey to each group after they finished a problem successfully.  Students would write their group member names on the turkey and tape it to the oven of their choice.  

Groups could put their turkey in whichever oven they chose.  When there were five minutes left in class, I announced to the students how many points each oven was worth.

As a twist, I made my four ovens worth these values: ten, twenty-five, fifty, and negative ten.  The negative points was a fun twist.  I'm thinking that maybe I should make the negative value higher next time!  

Here are some pictures of my students in action:

Files for this activity have been uploaded here.

Still confused about how this game is played?  I suggest you read Kim Hughey's original blog post about the Ghosts in the Graveyard game.  She is the teacher I learned this activity from!

Reading this and it's no longer Thanksgiving time?  You could use the same set of challenge cards and just change the theme of the game to match the season.


  1. Fun! I'm going to try this after I teach equation writing. I've done intercepts so far and slope next week.

  2. That sounds fun! I see a "Santas in the Chimney" or "Presents under the tree" version in my future this December. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This game is amazing! We are currently revising for exams and I uploaded a revision sheet for my students to do. They were in pairs and had a dry erase board to share. I told them they could do the questions in any order they liked and I divided the main whiteboard into quadrants. They showed me their completed questions and then they were allowed to write their names in a quadrant of their choice. It was seriously the best revision lesson I have EVER had as the students were collaborating, working efficiently and I was able to give them quick feedback if they had missed a step in their working out or missed the concept completely. Thanks Sarah!

  4. Hi Sarah! This looks so much fun!! I love the variations! I read the original post and I am confused with how points are tallied up/how a winner is chosen (#9 on the original post). Do you multiply the number of turkeys in each oven with the assigned point value and whichever oven has the greatest points wins? So all students in that particular oven win? Thanks for the clarification and amazing inspiration, as always!! :)

  5. Hi Sarah! Thanks for the great game idea. I played this with my class but called it "Turkeys in the Coop" and printed clip art of "live" turkeys.

    One thing I had trouble with was scoring. I ended up just revealing the scores at the end of class and letting the students tally up their own points. What do you do for scoring?

  6. What a fun way to review, especially during Thanksgiving Week! Many students are often unfocused during this time since they are looking forward to having no school, but this is such a creative way to keep students engaged while reviewing over recent material. The dry erase packets are such a good idea for easy, reusable materials. I also value that you challenge the students to show work to find the x-intercept if it was not visible on the graph. Great thinking with using the Sharpie instead of the stamp – good quick fix. I think the tracking sheets are a great piece of formative assessment, but my only concern is the cooperative teamwork. Maybe next time students have to all initial the completed challenge to show that they all agree with the answer and “lock it in?” The negative points was a good challenge for the students, and I definitely agree with making it worth more next time. Overall, I thought this was an excellent activity, and, like many people have commented before me, one that can be changed to match any time in the school year.