I haven't blogged in a while but I was so excited about today's lesson that I had to stop and write it down. In Algebra 1 we have just finished graphing systems of linear inequalities and the next unit is on exponents. I am a big fan of @SweenWSweens and he just blogged his lesson plan for exponents and I loved it. I was positive the students had seen this material before so I thought it was something that would work well. I changed his handout because I'm an organizational freak and I love charts and tables. So here is my handout but using his same instructions.
What I did differently is that I knew computer access was not going to work out for my classes and they wouldn't have access to Wolfram Alpha. So I wrote out the correct answers on Post-Its and hid them throughout the room. So first, students had to go through each problem and make their guess on what the answer would be. Then they had to search the room for the post-it with the correct answer. My eighth graders loved it so much that they asked if I would hide post-its with their names on it tomorrow [even though I will be out for a meeting] just because they enjoyed looking.
After finding the Post-It , they had to figure out the rule. The downside to this is that when they made up their three example problems, if they included variables, they couldn't check them on the calculator. I had them just call out their answers and I told them if they were right or wrong. Now with an advanced class of only 8 students, this worked great and most of them caught on [or remembered] the rules pretty quickly. I will be trying again with a nonadvanced class of 5 and then a regular Algebra class of 20 this afternoon, so we'll see how it goes with them.
After they finished the discovery type activity, I had them fill out this graphic organizer that I stole and edited. (The site also had tons of exponent activities and review games.) I printed them on brightly colored paper and had them put it in their binder to use as a cheat sheet.
Here is my version of the mini quiz.