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Lesson Plan

Algebra: What's My Rule?
 Subject: Math Grade span: 1 to 3 Duration: 10 to 20 minutes
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit under the promising practice: Math Games

Description:

This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement Math Games. In this lesson students will use algebra skills and visual clues to determine rules for sorting and classification.

Learning Goals:

• Sort and classify objects
• Recognize and describe a rule for the classification of objects

Materials:

None necessary. For small-group play, you may use manipulatives such as buttons and two paper plates for sorting.

Preparation:

• This game requires no physical preparation.
• Set norms for group play.

What to Do:

• Identify two areas in the room for students to cluster once the game begins. One area should be labeled "does not satisfy this rule" and the other "does satisfy this rule."
• To begin, the activity leader thinks of a rule (for instance, wearing red) but does not reveal the rule to the group.
• Students will nominate someone from the group that they believe may satisfy the rule.
• Direct that student to join the "does not satisfy this rule" or "does satisfy this rule" cluster, based on the predetermined rule.
• As the clusters increase in size, encourage all students to discover the rule. Ask students to refrain from guessing, and to make sure they check their suspicions as to what the rule may be before asking the instructor whether their discovery indeed is the rule.
• Ask students questions such as, "Why do you think that arrangement satisfies my rule?" "What do you notice?"
• The activity leader should initially be the instructor, who will model how the game is to be played; however, students can then take turns as the activity leader.
• For a small-group activity, students can sort buttons, cards, or numbers into two groups, trying to find the rule of the activity leader.

Teaching Tips:

This activity is designed to help students recognize patterns, and classify and sort objects based on what they do or do not have in common. Depending on your students' skills, you may want to begin by modeling the game with an easy example for a small group of students.
• Explain that you are thinking of a rule -- one thing that students have in common -- that you want students to guess. You will put anyone who meets your rule in a small group to your right, and anyone who doesn't in a small group to your left.
• Choose a rule that is easy to recognize, such as students who are boys, or students who are girls. Remember not to say what your rule is; you want students to guess.
• As students take turns nominating others, ask guiding questions that will help students think about patterns and classification:
• What made you choose that person?
• What does your choice have in common with others in the "meets my rule" group?
• How is your choice different from the students in the "meets my rule" group?
• Once students understand the game, let them take turns coming up with a rule (students who are wearing red) and challenge them to come up with new and more challenging rules.

Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):

• Student engagement and participation
• Comments and answers that reflect students' ability to sort and classify objects
• Comments and answers that indicate that students can recognize and articulate rules for classification
• Comments and answers that indicate that students are listening to, monitoring, and applying problem solving strategies of peers

Standards: