- Created by: Allison Williams, Santiago Canyon College
2. Type of activity: small group problem solving (paper and pencil))
3. Course level: Basic (Essential) Math
4. Topic: Order of Operations (integers or fractions- but could be used any set of numbers)
5. Materials: None
6. Time required: 10-15 minutes
7. Description: In order to give my students more practice at order of operations, but without hammering them with a bunch of problems, I had them make up and solve their own order of operations problems. Now this activity can be done two ways. 1. You can have your students get into groups of two or three and have them make up about 3 different type of order of operations problems and then solve each of them. 2. You can have your students find a partner, create their own question, and trade it with their partner for them to try. Then they grade each others work. Either way, they are getting extra practice, hopefully catching their mistakes with some help from the other student, and they are getting to take a more active approach to the problems.
8. Implementation notes (follow up/discussion questions, pedagogical recommendations, etc.): Mention to them if there are common mistakes, or if some of them had trouble following directions explain to them why. You may want them to check the problem with you before they turn it in. That way, if they are having trouble following directions, you can help them with it. If you choose to do this with partners, you might want to mention that when they correct the problem, if they don't find a mistake but you do, then they get marked down. Also, you may find that you might want them to do two problems with a partner if it feels like it isn't enough. One thing I noticed with this activity is that some people try to make it too easy (though having guidelines help with that) and some people make it too difficult on themselves. It is eye-opening when you notice when a student might have a tendency to "over think" the math and you may want to point that out to them.
9. Related activities (Is this activity related to another activity found here or on a different site?)