TITLE: Who Wants To Be a Mathematician?

SUBJECT: Pre-algebra; adaptable to other mathematics content.

OBJECTIVE: This bulletin board is designed to:

- check for student understanding of key mathematical concepts,
- enhance retention of mathematical skills and concepts,
- encourage students to have an enthusiastic attitude about mathematics, and
- celebrate student mathematical achievement.

TOPIC: I designed this game with Middle School students in mind. The problems I included covered a wide review of 7th and 8th grade pre-algebra, but this game could easily be adapted to any content. The design of this game allows for problems to be added or changed over the course of a school year as new material is taught. I included a variety of problems in such areas as geometric shapes, fractions, decimals, measures of central tendency, and radicals.

INTERACTIVITY: Students are provided with a marker, in this case a large silver bow, which they move from level to level as they progress through the game. The student begins by selecting a 10-point question. If they answer correctly, they move up and select a 20-point question. The problems become increasingly difficult, but are designed such that most conscientious students succeed in achieving at least 60 points. By correctly answering the 60-point question, students are rewarded with a selection from the candy jar. Students who successfully complete the 100-point question receive a homework pass. After this point, the student may continue through increasingly difficult problems, receiving extra credit at the 250- and 1000-point marks. The twist, however, is that each time a student moves up, he risks losing his homework pass and any accumulated extra credit if he answers a question incorrectly. Students may quit at any time, though the game is designed to encourage all students to proceed at least through the 100-point level. Students may look at the next problem before deciding to quit. Students may play as often as they like, though I limited homework passes to two per marking period and limited extra credit points per marking period. To encourage students to play as often as practical, points continue to accumulate and year-end prizes are awarded to the three players with the most accumulated points.

TIME: This will vary with student skill-level, but should average 15 to 20 minutes.

SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION: I wanted this board to be durable enough to last an entire school year. I used expandable file folders for the pockets, cutting them down to 4 inches high so that I could fit twelve of them on the board. The bow was attached to a poster-board star that is attached to the game board with a push pin.

CREDIT: Students can earn a homework pass and two different levels of extra credit, depending on how far they progress through the game. I designated 20 extra credits points for correctly answering the 250-point question and an additional 30 extra credit points for correctly answering the 1000-point question, though the number of extra credit points that are appropriate will depend on a particular teacher's grading scheme. I also limited each student to two homework passes and 100 extra credit points per marking period.

OTHER COMMENTS: This game was designed to be played by one student at a time, though two could play if their start times are staggered. A teacher or other responsible witness is required to check each answer as the student progresses through the game. This game is ideal for middle school where many free-time opportunities are available for students to play.

*Lorraine Stetzel*

3/1/2002