Thursday, February 16, 2012

Candy Hearts Homework

So, I decided to go paperless this week in my classroom. I teach Algebra I and get bored with the same ol' paper and pencil routine. I teach in a 1:1 classroom so all of my freshmen students have individual netbooks. I had to definitely think "outside the box" on this week's lesson plans. It's not easy to remove the two resources that most math teachers rely on....pen and paper. On Tuesday, in honor of Valentine's Day, I decided to have students get into groups of four. We learned how to Add and Subtract Polynomials at the end of last week so I made a quiz using the heart candies. I took a permanent marker and individually wrote each term for each problem on them. I then wrote each term for the answer on hearts too (I aslo added a couple incorrect terms in the mix to make it more challenging). I chose the groups and teamed together strong students with those that needed more instruction so that some peer mentoring could be happening during the activity. I had each group get two dry-erase markers and two whiteboards. I then projected the five questions on my promethean board. I told the students to write down all questions on one board so that they could have it to refer back to and I wouldn't have to keep messing with it. Once all questions were copied, they had to get an envelope (small coin ones) that had a number on it (1 through 5). Only one envelope per group at a time. They had to open the envelope, decide which problem it was, set up the problem using the candies and solve the problem using there desks or whiteboards. Once they had the solution, they set up the candies in the correct order and took a picture using their iPhone or webcam. They had to email or text my Google Voice account with their picture answer. They repeated this process until all questions were answered. Here are a couple of examples:

The top lines are the actual equations to the quiz. Students set this up first and then calculated the answers using their whiteboards or desk. The second line of hearts are the answers that these students came up with.

I didn't have any trouble reading the answers via e-mail or through my Google Voice. I told the students that I needed to be able to read the problem and answer clearly. If this wasn't accomplished then the problem would be counted incorrect.

Hope you enjoyed my FIRST post!!


  1. What a creative way to teach math without paper! I bet you could even swap the candy hearts for themed cards/shapes so you could use this activity all year long. :)

  2. Love this idea and to get them to use their phones in a constructive way! I bet they liked that.