Search This Blog

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How Many Ways? Critical Thinking Challenge

I'd like to introduce you to How Many Ways? - February Edition.

If you like critical thinking math challenges for your students...
If you like open-ended activities that take very little prep...
If you like interactive bulletin boards that stay up for an entire month...

...then you will love How Many Ways? -- Feb. Edition. 

Here's the 4-1-1:
This is what your bulletin board could look like. For this example, your students are challenged to get to the target number, 30, using the numbers on the hearts and any combination of the specified operations. So, they could use just addition and get there in these ways:

4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 = 30    


4 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 30

By adding or substituting another operation sign, such as x, students can find the target number in many more ways. For example:

(4 x 4) + (4 x 4) - 2 = 30

 3 x (1 + 2 + 3 + 4) = 30 
(4 x 3) + (3 x 2) + (3 x 3) + 3 = 30

How fun is that? Clearly there are many, many, many equations that can be constructed to equal 30. However, you are not done. Not even close. 

Included in this product are 29 more target numbers, plus 3 blank targets for you to program. Also included is a division sign, should your students be ready for that operation. 

It is up to you to determine how challenging this activity is. If you teach the littlest learners, you can program the center to just require counting. I have even included number hearts with counting dots.  

If you teach older students, this activity will challenge them to use algebraic equations (although the variable is implied), reinforcing the order of operations and the value of parentheses.

As you can see, the heart icons are presented in color and black line.  If you choose to use the black line hearts, I encourage you to copy them on colored paper.

How Many Ways? -- Feb. Edition works well as a math center.  I provide heart shaped paper for students to record their equations and let them post them on the adjacent board. We post them in columns of 10, making it easy to determine how many ways we have found.

It is also a great anchor activity and/or sponge activity.  But my favorite way to use this activity is as a challenge for fast finishers.  It is not only highly engaging for those quick minds, but I also use them as checkers.  That is, they review the posted solutions to make sure they are accurate.  If they agree, they can put a little valentine sticker on the equation to validate it, as well as to show that it has already been checked.

Now that you've met How Many Ways? -- Feb. Edition, I hope you will become life long friends.

Have you met the other members of the family?


No comments:

Post a Comment