Math Hangman

My students invented a game today. I was busy helping one student learn how to factor the greatest common factor from a polynomial at the back of the room, and some of the kids were goofing off going over homework problems on my Promethean Board at the front of the room. They told me they were playing “Math Hangman” with the rest of the class, and had this drawn on the board:

Math Hangman

They were asking the class to fill in the circles on the outside of the box. (I taught them to use the box method to organize their work while multiplying and factoring polynomials.)

I shrugged, told them I was totally cool with this game, and let them carry on (for the 30 seconds or so until the bell rang).

I think I’ll keep this in mind for next year as a way to introduce factoring. This could be cool – after we learn to multiply polynomials, tell them we’re going to play a game. Fill in the box, then have the kids figure out what we multiplied to get there. Talk about what strategies the kids used to figure out the missing values. Come up with a strategy that works all the time, then introduce factoring as a way to put vocabulary with the strategies that they have come up with.

Could be fun.

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