Fact: As the weather gets nicer, the kids get a little more interested in playing in the sun and a little less interested in doing math. To be honest, so do I. So we have to start getting a little more creative with our offerings; they've been doing the same old math pit stations all year and despite our best efforts to make them engaging they need something to break up the routine.
Enter coordinate geometry; simple, yet with so many fun activities that can be tied to it. We began with a week of stations to introduce the basics of coordinate geometry (first plane only) - 2 teaching stations, as usual, one on plotting coordinates, one on identifying them; Battleship at the games station; an interactive notebook page; and two practice stations, again one on plotting coordinates, the other on identifying them.
Following that week, we got creative. After seeing this blog post, for a giant floor graph city, we decided to create our own giant floor graphs. While I would quickly come to regret offering to build the floor graphs (so.much.work.), they were the perfect thing for helping some of our students grasp the concept of coordinates. Much like the activity we found on Katie's blog, we gave the students toy cars and marked crash sites on the giant graphs. They had to drive the cars along the graph lines to the crash site and identify the coordinates. They then had to write their answers on a laminated answer sheet; once the sheet was completed they used a QR code scanner to see if they had found the correct answers.
That was about 1 lesson's worth of fun and learning. We then moved to our next activity: a game loosely designed around the board game Clue. Armed with laminated pictures of people, places & murder weapons we created an activity called Get A Clue; a game where one group of students sets the stage and a second group of students finds the murderer, the murder location and the murder weapon. Students placed about 8 people, places and things (for a total of about 24 items) at various points on the floor grid. They then recorded all but 3 of those points (1 murderer, 1 location, 1 weapon) on a sheet entitled Clues; the other 3 they recorded on a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner sheet and tucked it in to an envelope. The next group then took the list of clues and methodically located all of the points listed on it. When they had found all of the points, they opened the envelope to confirm that they had done it properly.
I asked the kids for feedback after they had played the game and here's what they said: "we need someone who gets murdered!", "we need more places and people", "it needs to be harder".
If you have any ideas on how to improve this game, I would love to hear them!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!