Problem of speed dating

I’m always looking for ways to let kids practice in class without necessarily even realize that is what they are doing because they are having a little fun doing it.

We are working on solving systems of equations and started out by solving via graphing.

I tried this first in my regular classes, and we worked on this problem: In one of the classes, most students had done a lot on the problem already. Most boards are close to being finished and so some puzzling starts to happen. ” Some had written mostly answers absent of work, and two generations of physics students down the line now had to figure out not only whether the answers were correct, but also how they had even gotten there.

One group wasn’t making much progress until someone from the next table noticed them and said, “Hey, I’m going there next! ” When the 5 minutes were up, I looked around and saw that we probably had about 5 more minutes worth of work to do in order to get the boards to a mostly-finished state. Now, again, a different pairing and completely different work.

They were able to sort out having the two people from their first group just move in opposite directions.] Okay, great. I didn’t see that happen again in any of the next 4 times that I tried this activity.

This idea has been percolating for a while, ever since reading Sophie’s post back in September. There was some time pressure to get work on the board, but it was a good pressure that was absent of any kind of anxiety.

When we came back from Christmas Vacation and needed to start flexing all of those now-unpracticed skills that we gained in the fall, the time seemed right to try out this crazy new idea. The time limit was just about how long you had with that particular board, and when time was up, you were on to the same challenge, just remixed.

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Basically the desks were lined up with two desks per pod. I told the students they needed to solve their problem in their group and become “experts” at their problem.

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