This is a review activity on algebra and solving simple linear equations for grade 8 where students answer questions and are rewarded with building materials for each correct answer. The building materials (straws & tape) are then used to create the tallest tower that can hold a cup with a ball. In this activity students have a different tower challenge than our 9 academic and 9 applied versions.

Gr8 Patterning and Algebra

- translate statements describing mathematical relationships into algebraic expressions and equations
- evaluate algebraic expressions with up to three terms, by substituting fractions, decimals, and integers for the variables
- solve and verify linear equations involving a one-variable term and having solutions that are integers, by using inspection, guess and check, and a “balance” model
- make connections between solving equations and determining the term number in a pattern, using the general term
- describe different ways in which algebra can be used in real-life situations

- 1-2 boxes of straws and 1-inch pieces of tape
- a small container with ping pong ball
- a question sheet for each student
- a teacher answer sheet
- Optional - a whiteboard for each student to work out their solutions
- Optional - prize for the group with the tallest tower that can hold the cup

- Place students in groups (ideally no bigger than 3 per group)
- Hand out question sheets (and optional whiteboards) to each student.
- Have students answer questions from their sheet in any order they want. For every correct answer they will get some building materials (eg: 2 straws & 2 pieces of tape, the amount of each reward is indicated on the student question sheet ). The harder the question the more materials they will get. Eventually the building materials will be used to create the tallest free standing tower that can hold the cup with ball.
- Students work in groups to answer the questions and bring their solutions up to you to be checked. Only one member from each group can come up at a time. Each group can answer each question only once. To keep track of this, use the teacher answer sheet to check off which questions each group has answered as they come up.
- Leave about 20 min at the end of the class for students to create their towers (students can no longer answer questions)
- Take lots of pictures and celebrate the group with the tallest free standing tower.

The video, below, is only visible in the WECDSB domain. That is, only teachers in our school board can see the video if they are logged into their MyTools2Go accounts.

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