Speed Dating is one of my favorite structures for incorporating review in a collaborative, non-kill-and-drill manner. If you've never heard of Speed Dating in math, I suggest that you stop reading this right now and read this post by Kate Novak right now. She explains it much better than I could. Here's what I did to make it work in my 8th grade math class:
Since we've been working on graphing linear equations, I made my cards by printing out some problems from the Chapter 3 Student Workbook from UtahMiddleSchoolMath.org (pgs 10-14). After cutting out the cards, I wrote the equation of the line on the back. Students had already done these problems as an assignment, but they did so poorly on the quiz that I knew they needed to revisit them.
Ideally, every student has their own card. However, when you've got 36 students in a class like I do, that's a lot of problems to come up with. When I did the graphing speed dating, I made 3 sets of 12 identical cards. I then have 3 separate groups of speed daters, which works well since my room is arranged like this:
This also works out well for me time-wise because I only have 45-minute class periods. If you're going to use 3 identical sets of cards, I highly recommend that you number/letter each card in the set so that they are easy to sort out when they get mixed up or lost. I learned this lesson the hard way.
Each student gets their own card, turns it to the graph side, writes the equation of that graph and then checks the answer on the back. The student then is the 'expert' on that problem. Students then trade with their partner across from them and write the equation for that card. If they struggle, they ask the person sitting across from them for help. I set my online bomb timer for 1-2 minutes, depending on the class. When the timer goes off everyone switches cards back so that they are holding their original problem. The students on the window side of the classroom remain seated while the students on the wall side of the classroom move one space toward to the right. Students switch again and begin working.
I found that some of my speed dating groups had an odd number of students. This is quite simple to fix. Just place a card on the empty desk (make sure it is on the non-rotating side) and have students work on that problem when they rotate to the desk without a partner.
After students wrote the equations for all 7 problems (their own problem plus their 6 partners), I had students swap their cards diagonally and turn it to the equation side. I gave each student a set of coordinate grids kind of like this. Students then had to graph the equation that was written and we repeated the whole speed dating process with the same set of cards, but this time going from the equation to the graph.
The results? After a day of practice, when I re-quizzed my students on these topics, they did much better! A few hang-ups still: students forgetting to write a negative for equation of lines with negative slope; students who can't differentiate between y = 2x and y = 2. Any suggestions for dealing with these two issues?
About the author: MaryAnn Moore (@missnarymm) teaches 8th grade math in Davis School District. She coordinates the UCTM teacher blog and is also a regular contributor to the UCTM teacher blog. Please email her at email@example.com if you are interested in contributing to the UCTM blog.