Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Multiples Pig

When I was at high school, we played a lot of card games. A lot. All the time.

Pig was one I had forgotten about, until I was reintroduced to it by some students as Spoons. A good description of the game can be found here.

In Pig the aim is to get four of a kind. In Multiples Pig, the aim is to get 4 numbers that are all multiples of the same number (not including one, and I usually disallow twos as well).

All you need are some number cards. Here are some that go from 3 to 50 that work quite well:

My basic summary of the rules:
  • Players sit in a circle
  • Deal 4 cards to each player
  • The rest of the deck is to the right of one player
  • That player picks up from the deck then discards to their left
  •  The next player picks up from those discards and discards to their left and so on. So each player picks up from their right, discards to their left.
  • There are no 'turns', play continues as quickly as the players can play
  • The first player to create a hand of 4 multiples puts their hand on their nose
  • Anyone who notices this can also put their hand on their nose
  • The last player to put their hand on their nose 'loses' (loses a life, gets a letter of the word pig, etc.)
  • Shuffle, deal and play again!

The best part of pig is the subtle silent waiting for the last person to notice!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Rabid Dogs

Teaching a difficult class is like looking after a rapid murderous dog.

You cannot stop it being rabid and murderous, but you can be sensible about how you look after it.

If you don't have a plan to keep it contained or occupied, things will go badly. If you forget your past experiences and fool yourself into thinking it can control itself and rise above its situation, things will go badly.

Things will occasionally go badly. And you start to feel that its somehow your fault the dog is rapid and murderous.

It isn't your fault.  But you've got to stop thinking you can fix the dog, and accept that all you can do is contain it, and work on that.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"I have...Who has?" for Simplifying Surds

My new addiction is "I have... Who has...?" cards. I'd seen the idea around a bit, also called "Follow me" or something like that, but never tried any.

Then I found a free example for telling the time from superteacherworksheets and used it with my year 10s.

The basic idea is that the cards make up a chain of matching items. They can be question-and-answer style or just different ways of representing the idea. The time cards have a clock face for "I have..." and a written time for "Who has...?"

We played just by calling out. So I took a card and read my "Who has...?" question. The students all look at their clock faces and whoever has that one answers "I have..." and follows by reading their question. When we got back to me, the game was done.

Of course, you have to have everyone paying attention! This was the hardest part for the class.

Other ways to play, I believe, include using it as a way to get everyone into a circle or a line in a random order, and you could also get the students just to put the cards into order as a kind of matching activity.

Today I tried my own little revision one with year 11 Mathematics. Yesterday we simplified surds, so today we checked our knowledge with these cards:

This was a bit of fun, quick revision and a good check of who still needed help with the work. Also they are very simple to make if you don't need images! So I plan to do lots of algebra ones.

I also suggested to my resident PDHPE teacher that it would be a hilarious game for revising knowledge of STDs. Not sure if he'll take me up on that one.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Numeracy Game: "50 and out"

My second numeracy game of the year for the Peer Numeracy roll call group was based on an idea I found on the internet when googling around. Naturally, I can't find it again. But it was called "50 and out" or something very similar.

Basically, everyone stands in a circle (I've found that a group of 5-10 is good) and they go around the circle saying the next number in the sequence. So for the basic game, they count up in fives. There is a target number, in this case 50. The person who says 50 has to sit down, then the others start back at 5 and you continue until only one person is standing.

There's no strategy to this game, but it leads neatly on to playing variations on "21". There, each person can choose whether to say 1, 2, or 3 numbers in the sequence to try not to get out.

For my numeracy roll call we are focusing on counting on and back by 10s, so we had variations like:
  • Start at 10, go up by 10s, 100 is out
  • Start at 200, go down by 10s, 100 is out
  • Start at 37, go up by 10s, 157 is out
  • Start at 182, go down by 10s, 62 is out
We've played for a week now and covered heaps of variations of counting by 10s off the decade, and they've also tried counting by 2s and by 5s.

With another Maths class, we used it more for times tables, up to the 12s. This was also a great opportunity to satisfy their desire to go outside on a nice day! We made two circles on the netball courts and they happily played for about half a lesson. They had a go at the variation with strategy, which I'll try with the roll call group tomorrow!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Numeracy Game for Counting by Tens and Ones

This is a simple group game for practising counting on and back by tens and ones. I used our recently-purchased pocket cubes to create dice for the game.

Players sit in a circle and takes turns to roll the dice and count as instructed. The worded die tells you whether to count on or back, and by ones or tens. The number die tells you how many numbers you need to count. Play starts at 100.

Player 1 rolls "count on by tens" and "3", so they count "110, 120, 130".
Player 2 counts from 130. They roll "count back by ones" and "4", so they count "129, 128, 127, 126".

If you get to or below zero, restart at 100.

I have a roll call class called "Peer Numeracy", which involves a group of year 8 students who need help with numeracy working with year 10 students as mentors/leaders/tutors. We tried this game today in our first session for the year. They played in groups of 3 or 4 and the student leaders helped them mostly by remembering what number they were at, and providing guidance where it was needed to keep track of their counting.

The inserts could be varied to increase or decrease the difficulty for students as they develop their skills. For example:
  • starting at 1000 and including counting on or back by hundreds
  • include counting by twos or fives
  • use for higher-level kids studying decimals by counting on or back by ones, tenths and hundredths
Does anyone else use these pocket cubes? What have you done with them?