Remove One is one of my favorite games! It's a great way to teach probability and the students love it. I've been using it nearly every year since I was introduced to it through a program called the Mathline Middle School Math Project, sponsored by PBS (back in 1997?). I was involved in the program through my graduate studies at Allentown College of Saint Francis DeSales (now DeSales University). Anyway, this year, my student teacher is teaching our probability lessons; so she is the one who taught this lesson.
This is how the lesson works: 1. Students use a piece of paper as their "game board" and number the paper from 122 (or 212) . They then place 15 chips next to the numbers. They are told that they can place one chip next to every number and then place the extras next to any number they want. Or, they can leave some numbers with no chips and put several on others. Usually, they place the chips like those in the picture to the right. 2. Once students have their chips set up, the teacher rolls 2 dice and finds the sum of the numbers that are rolled.
3. If students have a chip next to that sum, the students may remove ONE chip from their paper (thus the name of the game Remove One).
4. Play continues, with the teacher rolling the dice and the students removing one chip each time the corresponding sum is rolled. The "winner" is the student who removes all of the chips first.
Without much class discussion, we play the game a second time. Normally, I just ask them to make some quiet observations to themselves before placing their chips again. Students typically notice that the sums of 6, 7, and 8 are rolled the most often and that 2 and 12 are usually rolled the least often, so they arrange their chips differently.
After the second game, we have a discussion about all of the possible outcomes (sums) one can get when rolling 2 dice. We also discuss how many ways there are to roll each of those outcomes, and what the probability is of rolling each sum. We find this probability in fraction form, and then often convert them to decimals and percents.
After this discussion, we play the game for a third time, and students' "game boards" often look a bit different!
This year, since I was observing rather than teaching, I was better able to hear some of the students' quiet comments to each other... "There's a better chance of getting a seven." "I'm not going to put any on 2, because it still hasn't come up."
When I started discussing this lesson with my student teacher, I searched for the lesson online, just in case it was around, and I found it right away. Click HERE to see the full lesson plan from PBS. Have you played this game? What other probability games do your students enjoy?
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Do your middle school math students have difficulty with their fraction, decimal, percent conversions? Mine often do, but I have a few ways to help them try to keep the concepts straight.
Tools for Teaching Fraction, Decimal, Percent Conversions: We started our Percent Unit last week and began the unit with converting between fractions and percents and decimals. I had already made the fraction, decimal, percent number line (a free resource in my store) for them with the most common fractions, percents, and decimals, but I figured there was a need for a "foldable" to keep all of the "rules" for converting in one place. We have already worked on converting decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals, but somehow, as we add new concepts, the students forget how to do these things! It's funny  my team teachers and I never write percents on students' papers any more, but always write their grades as fractions, like 18/23. From the first week of school, we teach the students how to change these fractions into their percentages, and every time they get a graded paper back, they are to find their percentages. So, when we say "Figure out your grade," they can do it. BUT, in math class, if I ask them to change 18/23 to a percent, they just look at me. When I give them the hint, "Pretend it's your grade," they look at me, understanding dawning on their faces! Why do they need that cue? Hmmm.....always a question.
Fraction, Decimal, Percent Fold it Up
Anyway, to keep the conversion rules all in one place for my 6th grade math students, we made this "fold it up." The Fraction, Decimal, Percent tabs (triangles) each get cut in half, and have a different rule and example under each half. I'm so glad we made these last week, because our schedule has been screwy for the past few school days! Thursday and Friday we had early dismissal due to parentteacher conferences, so all math classes didn't meet both days; and today, we had a two hour delay, so all classes were short. The "fold it up" was superhandy as we had to work pretty quickly today! And hopefully, they've used it to help them with their homework tonight...
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