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    Try math problem of the day or weekend
    By Amy Lee

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    When I taught math with sixth and seventh graders they had a warm up activity to complete 3 to 4 days per week. The textbook series was great because it had transparencies with review problems (no more than 5) on the left side and the answers on the right side. The problems reviewed the previous day lessons plus prior information. I just covered up the right side and had students work on it while attendance and homework check were being completed. When we checked it I had students come to the overhead to solve the problems. Below the review problems was the next lesson. Students keep this work in a folder or spiral notebook. I did check it for completion and understanding. Students knew I used it to determine if they were on a borderline grade for the nine weeks if their grade would be bump up to the next grade. Also students knew some review problems would be on a quiz or test.

    A math teacher at my school uses a weekend challenge. It is similar to an enrichment activity (brain teasers for math). Most of the time the goal was not to just solve the problem but to illustrate the steps it took to solve the problem. The problem is assigned on Friday and it is due on Tuesday. She did grade it and gave credit to students who tried the challenge. It was surprising being a special education teacher how the LD students would get the problems correct and I had an ED student who rarely did homework but he would complete the weekend challenge.

    I have found what works with my students are problems which they will encounter in real life (money; percentages; sales tax; how to calculate a tip; geometery using ruler, compass, protractor). Also they enjoy graphing coordinates which makes a object and math which goes along with the seasons/holidays. I had a worksheet for Halloween which involved a catalog of items used for Halloween. Students had to determine the total cost of items when given the items purchased. Maybe there are activities your students can do with a calculator. My students including eighth graders enjoy math version of bingo (I award small prizes such as homework pass or day to skip the review problems). We also have computer programs involving math. Sometimes I complete the later two suggestions at the end of class on the days of short lessons or early dismissal.

    I would try looking at your resource packet which goes along with her textbook series. Most series have an enrichment packet. Sometimes your teacher's manual has extra problems which I have found are better than the ones in the students' textbooks. I have just collected worksheets and workbooks throughout the past few years. I would check with other math teachers, head of your math department, and supervisor of math in your school district.

    I think the key is to have the students complete it in class and make it fun as possible.

    Amy Lee



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