Race to the Bottom

I’ve been working on adding and subtracting integers with my Math 7 classes, and if I’m burned out on worksheets and practice problems, I KNOW they are. So, I made up a game with a standard deck of playing cards. I call it Race to the Bottom (just because I thought Race to the Top was so cliche). It was fairly easy for them to play, and it gave me a great assessment tool to use without them knowing they were being assessed! (Sigh…I love formative assessment. It comes in so many great forms.) Here is a link to the game instructions, and here is one to the score card that I used. I teach an accelerated Math 7/8 class (that will go through the grade 7 and grade 8 standards in one school year), and I modified the game to include decimals (since they are adding and subtracting all rational numbers). In that class, along with the deck of cards, each group of 4 also got two number cubes (or standard dice, depending on what my supply was), and one of those cubes had to be red (because I have a lot of red). The red die represented the tenths place digit. I felt I needed to be that explicit with the numbers because some clever students would have undoubtedly found a way to arrange their digits so they had an advantage.

I loved listening to the conversations as I walked around the room observing. Students enjoyed challenging each other about their calculations–which was an unplanned bonus. Sometimes when students help each other they are much more successful than I could ever be.

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