MATH MAZE
by Justin Vallone

SUBJECT:
Pre-Algebra

TOPIC:
Multiplication of Negative Numbers


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

SUBJECT: This bulletin board would be appropriate for a middle school classroom where multiplication of negative numbers is being introduced, 5th or 6th grade general math, or in a middle school classroom where operations with negative numbers are being reviewed, 7th grade pre-algebra for example.

TOPIC: Multiplication of negative numbers

INTERACTIVITY: Students would interact with the board first by trying to solve the maze on the board as well as the math problems contained in the maze. Student will turn the arrows within the maze to point the direction which they chose to go, either by solving the math problem or just by solving the maze. Once the maze is solved, the arrows will be pointed to correct answers for each math problem. Students could then be asked to make generalization about multiplication of negative numbers, such as "A positive number multiplied by a negative number always equals a ___________ number."

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: The following directions appear both on the board itself as well as the worksheet that students would receive:

"Hello Math Maniacs!!!! Help the Math Mouse get through the Math Maze. Answer the problems at each piece of cheese to get the Math Mouse through the Math Maze. The right answers will lead you in the right direction!!

And don’t worry if YOU don’t know how to multiply negative numbers – just solve the maze and get the answers that way! When you’re done solving the maze multiplying with negative numbers will be EASY AS CHEESE-Y!!!!!!

Also,

Once you’ve finished the maze, we should be able to make some RULES about multiplying with negative numbers. Use the answers from the Math Maze to help you fill in the blanks.

TIME: 3-5 minutes to interact with the board, and perhaps 5-10 minutes to complete and discuss the worksheet.

SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION: The arrows are attached to the maze by brass brads. This allows the arrows to be turned to point in the direction the student has chosen.

OTHER COMMENTS: The bulletin board allows students to find correct answers to math several math problems without them specifically needing to know the actual mathematics that dictate the correct answer. Since the students are presented with several examples, they may be able make generalizations about the multiplication of negative numbers and eventually discover the mathematics behind the solutions. Also, if used as a review, solving the maze should quickly refresh a student’s memory of the rules of multiplying with negative numbers.

The basic idea of this bulletin board is flexible and it could be used for a number of topics. It lends itself to any topic in middle school mathematics where there are "rules" that students follow in the algorithm of solving the problem. For example, the properties of exponents is another topic that I feel would work well for this bulletin board.

Justin Vallone
11/18/06