Live Action Math Problem

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Information about Live Action Math Problem

Published on March 19, 2014

Author: arudt



Students act out math word problems and the class has to guess what equation they are performing.

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved I N S I D E T H I S P L A N 1 Overview 2 Why This Works 3 Instructions 4 Helpful Hints 5 Side Coaching 6 Example Overview Students act out math word problems and the class has to guess what equation they are performing. Why this Works Word problems can too often become exercises in translating words into mathematical language. Inexperienced students may scan the problems for numbers, make a guess at what operations to use, then compute an answer... all without understanding the meaning of the problem. By bringing the problem to life, students develop a deeper understanding of the problem and its solution.. Grade Level: 3rd and Up Time Needed: 20 minutes Materials: None Lesson Activity Plan By Alan Rudt Live Action Math Problem

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved Page 2 Live Action Math Problem Instructions 1. Write a math problem on a sheet of paper in large type. 2. Select a small cast of two or three students and show them the equation. 3. Introduce the game: "Let’s have a small cast come up. I have an equation here which only the cast will see. Our cast will now create a live action word problem. If you think you’ve solved the problem, shout out the answer. 4. The cast creates a live-action word problem represented by the equation. 5. Action stops when a member of the class audience calls out the correct answer; action continues if the answer is incorrect. When the correct answer is called out, the equation is written on the board and show to the entire class. 6. Lead a discussion and analysis of how the math action ways conveyed. Suggest different actions that might expand the scene and lead to interesting math operations. Variations Have students work in small groups to come up with their own equation or math situation to act out. Each groups gets a turn acting out their equation for the class, as above. Have an audience member suggests a set-up or location for the scene. Have audience members call out operations and numbers. The cast must work these in to the action. You - the teacher - calls up a cast and gives them an equation to act out. (Be sure not to let the rest of the class know the equation they're about to watch be performed.) When it comes to math, students often say, "Who needs math? I’ll never use it. It has nothing to do with my life." We need to help these students realize that math is a language that represent everyday situations in our lives.

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved Helpful Hints  Encourage students to embellish stories and add flourish, but instruct them not to change the math.  For younger students, it may be helpful for you to define the variables on the board as the scene unfolds. For example, if a student declares, "I'm not sure how many apples I need" then write "X = number of apples" on the board. As much as possible should be written to facilitate students' effort to figure out the equation, but without actually giving away the equation or mathematical phrase. Side Coaching "Don't prepare for more than a minute or two. Don't follow a plan; improvise the action." "You just asked that 544 pizza pies be delivered. Does that make sense?" Page 3 Live Action Math Problem

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved Page 4 Live Action Math Problem Example Call up a small cast and ask them to create a scene of a situation that can be described by y = 1/x. If they need help, say this: "The situation that you're modeling is an inverse function; more of one thing yield less of the other. So if you throw a party and have one pizza pie and one guest, x = 1, that guest eats the whole pie, y. If you have two guests, x = 2, each guest gets half a pie. "Another example: if x is the number of pet cats you have, y might be the number of mice in your home. The more cats, the less mice." Once the scene is complete and the equation is revealed, give the entire class related problems to solve. For example, have them solve a problem like this: Even the inverse equation y = 1/x can be acted out

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