Sunday, April 22, 2012

Inequalities with sidewalk chalk

This is an activity that we did in my math classes way back in March (seems like forever ago), when we were doing MAPS testing so we were in block schedule, and we were having unseasonably warm weather her in WI (70 degrees in March is not typical here).  We were studying inequalities with my regular math classes.  Due to the block schedule we had two 51 minute math classes combined.  To break things up a bit I decided to take the students out to the front of the building and let them write and graph inequalities using sidewalk chalk.  The kids really enjoyed going outside (and normally it would have been too cold to do this in March, but we jumped at the chance to get some fresh air while learning our math due to the warm weather).

I had written out the inequalities on index cards and color coded them so the first card I handed out was a simple inequality with a positive number and eventually the kids did combined inequalities that involved a mix of positive and negative numbers.  I was careful to make the progression for them as I wrote out the inequalities.  The success they had helped boost their confidence before moving on the more challenging inequalities.  As each group finished they would call me over and if they were correct I would collect their index card and give them the next color (that's how I made sure the groups were getting different cards and progressing in difficulty level).

The kids wanted to be in the picture so here are their feet. (see the mismatched shoes?  I love middle schoolers and what makes them tick!)

This was a more complex combined inequality.

This group chose the bright blue chalk.

The students really thought this activity was more of a game then just practicing the skill of writing and graphing inequalities.  They loved using the chalk (which I bought last summer at the Target Dollar Spot).  It definitely broke up the long block schedule class that day.  I love when the students are able to be active learners and have fun while mastering our learning targets.


  1. I am so glad you do fun things like this with your kiddos because even "tall" kiddos still like chalk! =)

    I found you from your comment on Kristin's blog and had to come follow you. I choose to not speak freely on my blog because my blog is read too and I am told ALL of the time to be careful what I say...and I already am but just feel a bit irked at times by comments some of the teachers I work with make. I feel like if they want to make catty comments then they just need to go start their own blog. =)

    I am happy to be your newest follower!

    Heather's Heart

  2. AWESOME idea!! Thanks so much for sharing! !
    To The Square Inch

  3. Wish I would have done this with my students. Definitely going to remember this for next year.


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