Saturday, February 23, 2013

What's My Rule?

For some reason my students always seemed to panic when they saw an input/output table for the first time. I decided that I needed to create something "fun" to introduce the concept of input/output tables that was interactive and kid-friendly, and that is where the "What's My Rule?" bear came from.
I start the class by having my students take turns dragging a number behind the bear into the white section of the board. The number "magically" changes based on a rule. Together the students and I make an input/output table to show what we started with, and what comes out. After we try three of the numbers we guess what the fourth number will become. The students discover the "rule" for this bear. We then go through this two more times (on two new pages,) having different students come up to move numbers across and discover the rule of the new bears. Once students have success with this I show them a partially filled in input/output table:

The students work in groups to complete the table and identify the rule. We then work together to create an equation using two variables. I gradually guide them and have them complete the tables on their own, finding the rule and creating an equation to match it.
I've found students are much more confident tackling the tables because they have already solved problems just like it in a fun way! You can find a Smartboard presentation involving addition/subtraction input/output and another one involving multiplication/division input/output tables at my TpT store here.

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