by Jonathan Siswojo


Solving Equations

Jonathan Siswojo
To obtain a downloadable copy of the worksheet that accompanies this bulletin board, click on the button below.


SUBJECT: 7th Pre-Algebra

TOPIC: Solving Equations

INTERACTIVITY: The design of the bulletin board is inspired by a popular 80's television game show Pyramid, where contestants try to guess a series of words or phrases from clues given by their teammates. While this activity does not follow the exact format of the show, it uses six different categories and a two-person format just like it was in the game show.

The bulletin board is designed as a review activity for students. It is to be done in groups of two, to promote teamwork among students. While students may want to win the activity game, it is not purposely designed as a competition. At the beginning of the game, both players will roll a die to determine who goes first.

There are two rounds to this game. In the first round, players will answer one question from each of the six categories, which represent sub-topics that have been covered in class. Players will pick one question from the pockets (numbered slots 1 to 6) and write the answer down on the worksheet. In the second round, players will take turn to draw a card from the Round 2 slot. Both will answer the same question and write it down on the worksheet. They need to answer three questions in this round.

Players may opt to do a bonus question after reading a short history lesson on Egyptian mathematics as posted on the bulletin board. This is designed to promote reading comprehension, not just mathematics, for students through a fascinating story about the Egyptians. They can earn extra credit by answering it correctly. The task is to write a number using Egyptian numerical hieroglyphs.

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Two players are playing against each other. There are two rounds in this game with a bonus opportunity at the end. For the first round, there are six categories on the pyramid-shaped game board, with question cards for each category.

The categories are:

  1. Variables and Equations
  2. Properties of Operations
  3. The Distributive Property
  4. Simplifying Variable Expressions
  5. Addition and Subtraction Equations
  6. Multiplication and Division Equations

Each player will answer one question from each category and write the solution down on the worksheets provided. Players will proceed to Round 2 after completing Round 1. At the end of Round 2, there will be a bonus round, where you can earn more points if you choose to solve the bonus problem.

Round 1

    1. Put today's date, your name, and your partner's name on this packet in the spaces provided.
    2. To start the game, the players decide who will be Players 1 and 2 by rolling a die. Use the die provided (please put it back on the board when not in use). The highest roller will be Player 1.
    3. Player 1 selects one of the six categories (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6) on the pyramid. Player 2 randomly takes out a question card from that category and passes it to Player 1 to work on.
    4. Locate the question number on the card (i.e. 1A, 3E, etc.) and write it down on Worksheet 2. Write your solution in the space provided. Show your work to receive points. Each question is worth up to 5 points. Show your work to receive full credit.
    5. When done with the question, put the card back in the card stack.
    6. Next, it is Player 2's turn to pick a category and Player 1's turn to randomly draw a card from that category. Player 2 will locate the question number and write it down on the worksheet before answering the question. Remember to show your work when solving the problem.
    7. Repeat Steps 2-5 until both players have answered one question from all six categories on the pyramid. Players will proceed to Round 2 after Round 1 is completed.

Round 2

  1. Player 1 will start this round by randomly drawing a card out of the Round 2 box. Questions in this round are for both players, so Player 1 and 2 will share the question but will solve it independently.
  2. On Worksheet 2, write down the question number (i.e. T1, T5, etc.) and solve the problem in the space provided. Each question is worth up to 5 points. Show your work to receive full credit.
  3. Next, Player 2 gets to pick a question card and follow the same procedure in Step 7 and 8.
  4. For the last question in this round, Player 1 will again pick a question card. Proceed in the same manner until both players have worked on a total of three problems.

Bonus Round

There is a bonus problem for you to work on at the end of Worksheet 2. This question is worth 5 points. Read the Math Info on the bulletin board before working on this problem.

When you are done, hand in this packet to earn your points. And as a reminder, make sure your name, your partner's name, and today's date are written on all of the pages in this packet, if you have not done so.

TIME: Approximately 15-20 minutes

SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION: Some aspects of Ancient Egypt are incorporated in the design of the board. The board uses some of the colors that have symbolic meanings in Egyptian arts (yellow for the eternal, blue for creation/rebirth, etc.). The black-and-red triangle is symbolic of the Egyptian pyramids. On the upper right side of the bulletin board, a cartouche is constructed to spell out the words The Pyramath. Colors on the cartouche and numerical symbols are hand-drawn, matching them as closely as possible to the colors used in Ancient Egypt.

In making the bulletin board, foamies are used to construct the center pyramid as well as the lettering. The material is used to add a 3-D effect on the board. For the same reason, small boxes are made for the slots, to hold the die and question cards. The bright yellow background and the dark pieces are chosen to add contrast to the board. All of the pieces are hand-constructed, except for the die. Question cards are laminated to make them more durable for use.

Glue-Dots and school glue are used to put the pieces together. To help secure the bulletin board in place, a couple of staples are placed inconspicuously along the edges of the center pyramid.

CREDIT: This is an extra credit activity. Student will get a chance to earn a maximum of 45 points for completing the bulletin board, if answered correctly. There is a built-in bonus question that is worth another 5 points.

HANDOUT: See attached file.

Jonathan Siswojo
Fall 2007