Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Round Robin One-Step Equations

I taught one-step equations to my Accelerated Math class yesterday.  Actually my sub taught it on Monday using my SMARTboard notes.  When I returned yesterday the students complained that the sub did not explain anything, but just posted the notes for them.  I realized that I needed to go back over the notes explaining the importance of the "process" we use when solving simple one-step equations.

Here is and example of my SMARTBoard notes on the steps to solving an equation.  I give more notes and lots of examples, but this is a picture of the slide that shows step by step what to do.  This is actually a page recording, but you get the idea.
After clarifying the notes on this topic I felt that the students needed to do some practice on this in their groups.  I like this activity because all students must participate and even though each student does his/her part individually, they have the knowledge and support of the rest of the group if they get confused or make a mistake.

The way the Round Robin strategy works is that each person has to have a different color writing utensil.  Kids enjoy this because it is usually pencil ONLY in my math class.  Once the kids have each picked out a different color and cleared off their desks I pass out one paper to each group.  The students solve the problem step by step, passing the paper around the table.  Each students completes only his/her step and then passes the paper on to the next person.  The whole group is responsible for making sure each step is correct before the paper gets passed on.  If someone notices an error they need to explain the error to the writer and have the writer fix it before passing it on.  This strategy works best for a multi-step problem like solving equations.  It also is a visual representation of the step by step process.

This group was all boys.  Look how neat those equations are!

Love the pink and green. :)

While the students are working in their table groups on the activity I am circulating around the room and checking their papers.  If I notice an error I point to it and ask the group to figure out what is wrong.  The rule for the round robin is that each person is allowed to only write with their color ink.  Each person does one step of the equation and then passes it to the next person.  The only deviation I did from the set up of my notes is that when checking work (which is a two-step process) I have two different people do that.

A more close up view

It is important to note that once an equation is solved and a new one is started a different person must start the new equation.  That way students do not keep solving the same step over and over.  Notice how Each step is a different color on the worksheet.  That shows how students are solving a different part of the equation on each turn.

A completed equation

Another group's work

The students felt much more confident in solving their equations after completing this group activity. It helped students to catch some of the more common errors that are made when solving their equations.  We are building a strong foundation for solving equations by focusing on practicing the process of how to solve these.  Today in class the students will be completing their graded assignment to show mastery learning.  I will do a follow up post on that.


  1. This is SUCH a great idea that I'm using it next week. I also gave you a shout out on my blog! :)

  2. I really like this. Just passing papers from person to person makes learning seem like fun to kids!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. Hi there, just wanted to say I loved this activity so much!! I used it the next day after reading it for multiplication algorithms and my students loved it. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Great Idea, Thanks for sharing

  5. Thank you for sharing! I teach a pre-algebra class for 6th graders. Some of my students are struggling. I will try this tomorrow.

  6. Great idea! Will be using this tomorrow!

  7. Great idea! Reviewing one-step and multi-step equations with eighth graders this week. Definitely will try! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi - just a note for you - please add and subtract linearly. When you write the inverse operation underneath, students can become confused - especially when they reach 8th grade. Division can be written underneath the original equation, but multiplication, addition, and subtraction should be written in line so as to minimize confusion. Otherwise, great activity! -

  9. Love the railroad tracks! This will help my students with LD tremendously!


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