Thursday, December 18, 2014

Riddle Worksheets, Mazes and Coloring Sheets: Making Practice Fun(ny)!

Not everything in life is fun, I get that. Sometimes you just have to push through and get it done, I understand that too. When you are competing, however, in a world of technology, bright colors and immediate gratification you have to get creative to hook your students in. As a result I went on a quest to find ways to get my students to practice the math that I was teaching and make it somewhat "fun" for them too.

My first stop was my own years in school from which I vaguely remembered getting the Pizzazz worksheets. They had this funny little pun or joke that you solved as a reward of sorts by finishing the problems. In my quest, however, I discovered that a) they were out of print and b) the ones that I could find were at a much
Geometry Riddles
Algebra Riddles
lower level than I could really use for a high school geometry class. That idea, however, lit a spark and made me wonder, could I create such a thing? I discovered that the answer was yes I could in fact do so and my Riddle Worksheets were born! Thus far I have created 22 "non-seasonal" worksheets for Geometry (available individually or in a money-saving bundle) as well as multiple versions of the most popular topics with a Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas theme. I have also created ten for Algebra (also available individually or in a money saving bundle) on some of the more popular topics. I have more planned for both areas, when the creativity bug strikes me again! Each worksheet features about 15 problems that required the students to solve the problem, locate their answer in the answer box and then solve the pun. Mystudents usually groan, a lot (!), when they solve the pun but they get excited when I hand them out and enjoy doing them! The practice that students get and the collaboration they do is so rewarding!

4 The Love Of Math
Alas through, teachers cannot live by riddles alone, nor do I really want to! This lead to my second stop, which was a search on TeachersPayTeachers for fun algebra or geometry worksheets and I discovered Mazes! These worksheets are beyond phenomenal! They require students to start by solving a problem and give them two answer solutions. Whichever answer they get, leads them to the next problem to solve. The students repeat this process until they gotten all the way to the end of the maze! I love these for so many
reasons! 1) They are self-checking. If students don't get one of the two answers provided they know that they did something wrong. 2) They identify the most commonly made errors since the "wrong path" is created by making the most common mistakes and leads to great classroom discussion. 3) The students have fun! Students need to realize that math is enjoyable and these mazes help to make that happen. My favorites so far are by:   4 The Love Of Math, Teaching High School Math and All Things Algebra

Mrs. E Teaches Math
Another type of maze that I happened upon are created by Mrs E Teaches Math and are a "get up and move" type of station maze. In these problems the students start by solving a problem. Depending on the answer they get, they move to a specific station. If a student makes a mistake, they are sent back to a station that they already completed and have to back track to figure out where they made their mistake! She has a variety of these mazes as well as chain activities and sum 'em activities. I love everything in her store and she has a great blog too!

All Things Algebra
As I was searching on TPT for fun worksheets I also came upon my third stop which is some great coloring worksheets and honestly, who doesn't love to color??? :) These worksheets ask students to solve a problem and then color in an area a specific color if their answer falls between a certain range of values. These are fantastic for so many reasons! 1) They get students practicing and working out the problems with a goal in mind. 2) Students have to be able to place their answer in a range of values which is great for ordering numbers. 3) Students love to color. They may complain, but they really do love it! Some of my favorites so far are made by: Lindsay Perro, All Things Algebra , Activities by Jill, and 4 The Love Of Math .

I encourage you to check out some of the great resources I've highlighted here and go searching for your own. Not only will your students thank you, but you'll thank yourself too! :)   

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