Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two Review Games: Multiplying Polynomials and FOIL

Last week while lesson planning, I realized that the material we were covering (multiplying polynomials) lent itself well to some of my favorite learning games. I used two review/teaching games in the same 70 minute period: one covers FOIL and the other contains most other types of multiplication problems:
  1. FOIL Bingo - I like that this challenges students to problem solve and figure out ways to work backwards, since I give the "answer" (the resulting polynomial) and they have the "question" (the binomials to be multiplied) on their bingo cards. This was a little difficult for some of them, but if you give them the bingo cards ahead of time, have them multiply the problems out and then start the game, it will be much easier. This is actually a repurposed version of my factoring polynomials bingo game for Algebra II, which shows how you can use this game for a lot of different things. You can plug pretty much anything in there and create a game quickly and easily.
  2. Multiplying Polynomials Matching Game - The kids enjoyed this much more than bingo and completed it more quickly than I anticipated. It contains problems where they distribute a monomial or binomial and a couple of monomial multiplication problems (the last part being a sort of spiral review). After doing it in class though, now I'm thinking that you could fold the FOIL problems into this game and have it work much better as one large game. This PDF contains the two sets of cards and a key on page 3.
Getting the Most Out of These Games In Your Classroom

This was our review the day before a quiz. I told my students that I was going to take most of the questions from the two games--something I told them ahead of time to motivate them to participate and take it seriously. I think it helped keep them involved. I put up 10 points on the quiz as a prize for the winner (first done correctly) for each game.

Since we finished early, I asked students to multiply out all of the FOIL problems we hadn't gotten to yet during our bingo game (there were about 10 out of 24 left) for additional credit. This is a good way to follow up any time you go through a round of bingo quickly. Alternately, you can always continue playing and award something to the runner up.

For those of you with a 45-55 minute period, these two games could easily keep students engaged (and working against the clock) for the whole period or be expanded and split into two.

Feel free to ask questions and ideas in the comments!