Monday, 21 December 2015

Simplifying Expressions and Solving Equations Tower Challenge

This is a review activity on simplifying expressions and solving equations for grade 9 applied where students answer questions and are rewarded with building materials for each correct answer. The building materials (spagetti & marshmallows) are then used with the goal being the creation of tallest tower. This is based originally on a TIPS activity on quadratics for MBF3C (Unit 3, Day 6).  We have a similar activity for grade 9 academic that can be found here.

  • substitute into and evaluate algebraic expressions involving exponents 
  • describe the relationship between the algebraic and geometric representations of a single-variable term up to degree three [i.e., length, which is one dimensional, can be represented by x; area, which is two dimensional, can be represented by (x)(x) or x2; volume, which is three dimensional,can be represented by (x)(x)(x), (x2)(x),or x3]
  • add and subtract polynomials involving the same variable up to degree three using a variety of tools
  • multiply a polynomial by a monomial involving the same variable to give results up to degree three using a variety of tools
  • solve first-degree equations with nonfractional coefficients, using a variety of tools
  • substitute into algebraic equations and solve for one variable in the first degree
  • 1 bag of spaghetti and 1-2 bags of small marshmallows (or 1 box of straws and 1-inch pieces of tape)  
  • 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

  1. Place students in groups (ideally no bigger than 3 per group)
  2. Hand out question sheets (and optional whiteboards) to each student.
  3. Have students answer questions from their sheet in any order they want. For every correct answer they will get some building materials (eg: 2 spagetti & 3 marshmallows, 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 a tower with the goal to create the tallest free standing tower.
  4. 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.
  5. Leave about 20 min at the end of the class for students to create their towers (students can no longer answer questions)
  6. Take lots of pictures and celebrate the group with the tallest free standing tower.

  • Gr9AppliedSimplifyingExpression&SolvingEquationsTowerChallengeQuestions (pdfdoc)
  • Gr9AppliedSimplifyingExpression&SolvingEquationTowerChallengeTeacherAnswerSsheet (pdfdoc)
Did you use this activity? Do you have a way to make it better? If so tell us in the comment section. Thanks

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