Wednesday, April 21, 2021

ZAP! Best Review Game Ever!

ZAP! The BEST review game ever! It is super old...I have been using it since literally 2012, which really only adds to its street cred! It is definitely a classic! 


1. ZAP! is easy and cheap to create.

The first set of ZAP! cards I made was with library card pockets that I had left over with handwritten index cards inside. I gifted that well used set to a math teacher when I became a coach and needed a new set. I had only one library pocket left, so I made a template from it and used cardstock to create my own. You are welcome to use my template found at the end of the post. Either way, cheap and easy! 

2. ZAP! is almost zero prep.

You just need questions! I have found that 16 is a good number as far as time and interest go. I usually take a blah worksheet or grab practice problems from online to get questions. You can project those or I have even just written them on big paper and held them up. I included a couple of sets for you at the end of this post. EASY prep!

3. ZAP! keeps kids doing math to the very last question! 

Once a team answers the question correctly, they earn 1 point for their team and then draw a card. The cards are all different things like +2 for your team, -3 for your team, switch scores with the other team, and then ZAP! which takes away all points! The cards keep the score going back and forth with the chance of losing all your points. So students work until the very last question because it always comes down to the last card to decide a winner!

4. ZAP! keeps the fastest and most proficient teams from always winning.

I know you have played review games where the fastest thinkers always win and it is not fun for everyone. With ZAP!, there is space for everyone to have a chance. ZAP! is played in teams but EVERY team member has to work the problem. After everyone works it, they chat to come to a consensus before giving the answer. The other team can steal, but they are required to give the answer immediately so they are working at the same time. Every student happily working problems is the best thing!

5. ZAP! creates so much excitement and fun for math!

Drawing the cards is the best part! They are so scared because it could be great or bad for their team's points. They close their eyes and point, they choose based on color, they argue over which one to choose. I have even had kids put their heads on the board to listen for the good one! It is the best!

ZAP! can be used in any content area. I have tried it in ELA and Science and it was a blast with that content as well. I would recommend it for reviewing so that the game stays at a fast pace. Below are a few examples of problem sets I have used. I hope you will try this classic and let me know how it goes! 



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rotations Circle Art

So many math concepts connect directly to visual art. I love to be able to end a concept or unit with art! This project is one of my favorites. It could be used for rigid transformations with rotations, rotational symmetry, measuring angles, and even with the unit circle. The results are incredible and students are always amazed that they created something so beautiful...and with "pencil ink!" Let's get to it because you will love this!

Students use one eighth of a circle to create a simple drawing. Simple designs work best because they will be tracing it eight times! The more detailed the design, the less impact it had when finished. 

The next step is to fill the back side of the design piece with pencil lead. Have students place a scratch sheet of paper under their piece while they scribble scrabble on the back creating a solid coat of pencil lead smudge. You will want to use wooden pencils rather than mechanical for this project to ensure the lead transfers. 

Place the design piece in the first part of the circle, smudge side down. Hold the design piece in place and trace the lines of the design. Continue tracing over design into each piece of the circle. You will need to press hard to transfer the lead smudge. It may also be necessary to add smudge to the back of the design piece as you go around if the tracing becomes too light. 

Students can choose to continue using pencil to shade or they can use markers, colored pencils, sharpies, whatever they want to fill in the design with color. Some students also used sharpie to outline the design before they colored and it made it look a lot cleaner. The simplest designs came out stunning once they added color! 

Of course my favorite was the pencil design! You can find other transformation art posts here, here and here. I hope you try these with your transformations or circles unit and let me know how it goes!

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