Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Can I Do With...? Volume 1

This year has been a turning point in my relationship with stuff.

You could chalk it up to living in a small apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the country, the stress of moving all of my stuff annually for the last six years, or simply realizing that very little of it makes me happy. So this year I've sold, swapped, donated, recycled or thrown away more of my stuff than I ever thought possible.

In what I hope to become a regular feature, I have a list of stuff I've kept solely for classroom use but that I'm not sure what to do with. I've been trying to come up with academic or culture-building purposes for these things, but unfortunately they're just taking up space.

So I'm reaching out for ideas, as well as providing a forum for others to solicit ideas for their potentially useful stuff. What can I do with...
  1. ...a disco ball? - I think I used this once in class, but I can't remember the reason. This is the sort of novelty lighting you buy at Spencer's in the mall. I've always had this vision of roller-skating around the classroom with disco ball going, and what a memorable moment that would be, but I haven't been able to come up with any legitimate reason for doing so. (Never mind that I don't have skates.)
  2. ...Trivial Pursuit? - I've always loved this game, even when I was too young to know any of the answers, but I've never found an opportunity to use this in school. I think it might work well for those long hours after standardized testing or benchmarking when we're just sitting around, but I wonder if there's a better academic use for this.
  3. ...Clue: The Simpsons Edition? Do today's kids even play Clue anymore?
  4. ...Miniature foam footballs? I have a half dozen of these from a car insurance company giveaway that I've been saving. Does anyone have a fun, simple football-themed review game or math lesson I could use these with
  5. ...paper sandwich bags? I have used some of these for separating out decks for card games, but I feel like there's untapped potential here. Is it time to start an algebra puppet show?
Your ideas and suggestions will help me decide whether to hold on to this stuff or find a better place for it. As I said, feel free to share your own stuff in need of a good idea in the comments as well. Thank you!


Peach Pod said...
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Ms. Maddy said...

I took this game from someone else and I use a foam basketball instead of a football, but here's an idea:

I name a few teams of students and put problems on the board for them to solve, one at a time. The first team to solve the problem gets a point. Every team who solves the problem gets a chance to shoot for a point. So, the first team can get two and the others can get one. Sometimes I add a three-point line to spice things up.

Peach Pod said...

Trivial Pursuit: Do your own set of cards, and create categories like polynomials, coordinate plane, solving for angles, etc. You could make it a class project by giving each student a certain number of cards and have them create questions.

Miniature foam footballs: a few ways to use these. One is to write numbers on the footballs and perform operations based on the number that their thumb is on when they catch it, such as integer review (use 2 fingers for this), cubes, perfect squares, etc. Another way is to simply throw the ball and the person who catches it has to answer the question. You can also set up a hula hoop or some other kind of target and let the students throw the ball if they get the question right.

Mrs. Alison Langsdorf said...

The paper lunch bags can be used to model algebraic expressions in an activity based upon one found in Impact Mathematics Course 2. Each bag is labeled "x" and holds the same undisclosed number of small objects (legos, marbles, etc. - blocks here for discussion). So 3 bags plus two extra blocks is a concrete version of 3x + 2. Kids can figure out the value (total number of blocks) for different values of x, and they can work backward to solve basic equations. Great for middle school, or for older kids with learning issues.

JK said...

so who needs a "legitimate" reason to put up a disco ball?!?!? Get that thing spinning!