Odds and Ends

I've used this activity for the past few years, using foam circles from Dollar Tree that I labeled with sharpies and stuck up all over the room.

My ceilings are too high to reach and I felt like that always threw them off. This year I got the bright idea to cut up tissue boxes and use blank yard sale stickers.

I gave them the worksheet with a picture on it too and asked them to make sure the stickers were in the right place. Sadly they were nowhere near sticky enough and repeatedly fell off. Now I feel like I need some laminated circles and hot glue them to the box. Any better suggestions?

This was the last activity before their quiz. After like 6 DAYS of point, lines, and planes, the grades were still bad. I think the highest was an 86% and the majority of the class was between 50%-75%. Why is this so hard? It's like the more time I spend, the worse it gets. I hate that it's the first lesson of the year because it drags on forever, they get a bad grade, and then they decide that geometry is too hard and they're going to fail.

Moving right along....

I used this 'number line' to introduce absolute value equations.

Questions I asked:
  1. What is something weird or unusual about this diagram?
  2. What is something familiar about it?
  3. What kind of math thing could it represent?
  4. If the pink magnet was a number, what would it be?
  5. What is three magnets away from the pink magnet?
  6. Why are there two possible answers?
  7. What is two magnets away from the star?
  8. What could the magnets represent?
  9. Can you have a negative distance?
  10. What is the definition of absolute value?
This was done in about 2 minutes and then we jumped right into INB notes.

And here's a fun video of us playing Grudge Ball but I call it The X Game because there are no balls and there are X's.

Any time they run to the board, it's a win. =)


  1. I love these assignments - especially the absolute value number line - it seems to make more sense than numbers do (to me!).

    I was thinking about what you wrote about the assessment. Maybe you could give it as a pairs test, and they have to agree on their answers and write their reasoning. Then, when the pairs have finished, they can meet with another pair and compare answers. If they have disagreements, they need to discuss the reasoning for the answers - and hopefully one pair will be able to have the other pair recall something from class or realize their error. If they make any changes to their answers they need to write down their new thinking. I like to do this for a couple of reasons - usually when the kids are talking aloud they realize their errors, and sometimes someone saying something will jog the memory of the other person and they'll be able to clarify or support reasoning. If neither are sure and they just "write something", then when they meet with another pair they'll get help. The pairs strengthen their thinking when doing the explaining, and get misconceptions sorted out. It's not the best for getting individual grades, but after you do this and then on a subsequent test put a similar review question from this topic they should be able to do better!

    Just a thought but wanted to share it with you, as you share so much with us!

    1. Thanks Deb, maybe I should do a partner practice quiz before the real thing next time?

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  3. Your idea to introduce Absolute Value on a number line is great! I love that you took the numbers out of it and introduced it conceptually to build a true understanding. It also gives you something to refer back to while solving for absolute value equations. I think that I would make it the beginning of an Anchor Chart. Thanks for sharing.