Last night I was part of two Twitter chats. The first was #edtechchat. It is an amazing chat about using technology in the classroom. If you haven’t followed a twitter chat, you should. You don’t have to contribute, just watch and learn.
The second chat I participated in last night was #msmathchat. It is a great gathering of middle school math teachers from around the globe. It was interesting to read how other teachers handled different situations. Our topic last night was about how we handle lessons that we think are amazing but fall flat when the students get started. During the course of one hour (typical chat length), there were many side conversations. #msmathchat is sometimes difficult to follow because there are SO MANY math teachers wanting to connect.
It was on one such side conversation that I found a golden nugget. We had begun sharing our go-to strategies. We all have activities we can blend and merge to fit any topic. They work for us. They are our safety blankets. I found a new blanket, the Scavenger Hunt. I wish I could give someone credit. I’ve been back through the chat archives (http://mathchats.pbworks.com/w/page/68161899/msMathChat ) and can’t find the person that first mentioned this beautiful phrase.
This is how I adapted the idea. I took questions from a practice worksheet and put them on the wall. I then gave the students numbers to start on. Now, to keep my students from bunching up at the same numbers I also gave them a sign (positive or negative). Their sign told them whether to count up (+) or down (-). So, a student with the number +7 would start at 7 and then move to 8. A student with a -7 would start at 7 and move to 6, then 5 and so on. When the student reached the last problem (say 15) they wrap around to the first problem.
The kids have to get up and FIND the problem. Copy it onto their paper. Go back to their desk and work out the problem before they can hunt for the next problem. I was amazed how much engagement I had. Students were excited to be able to find and complete all the questions in one class period. I will be using this again. After 23 years in the classroom, this proves even old dogs can hunt!