I stumbled across this game called “Name that Conic” a few years ago on Walking in Mathland. I have played it and changed it little by little every year that I have played it. This game is a good way to help kids practice classifying conics that are in standard form. It’s so helpful for kids to be able to do this before completing the square, so they can troubleshoot if they make a mistake. You can find instructions for the game on Walking in Mathland, but I’m going to give my tweaked version below.
- Each group of students is given an envelope of 5 notecards. Each notecard has a problem number on the back of the card and an equation in standard form on the front. Students will name the conic, write it on their answer sheet, and put the cards back in the envelope.
- After one minute, say “ROTATE” and each group passes their cards to another group. The original game says to give two minutes, but that has been way too long for my classes. Once the game gets going, my students only use 30-40 seconds or so for each set of cards.
- Repeat until each group has seen all of the cards.
- Score the answer sheets to see which team got the most correct.
Here’s the kicker: The person writing is not allowed to look at the cards AND I don’t let students talk for the entire game. If I see the writer peek at the cards or I hear one word, the team gets penalized. They have to end up coming up with some sort of sign language to communicate. I make them rotate writers each round so everyone gets a turn.
To prepare, you need to create the cards. The original blogpost on Walking in Mathland gives a link to a page with a list of equations. Really, you could just make up your own. The students aren’t competing the square or anything, so it doesn’t really matter if the numbers work out nicely or anything. You need eight sets of five cards. You could play with less, but I think this is a good amount for a nice game. I suggest handwriting the equations on the front of the cards and writing the problem numbers on the back. I labeled mine with letters and numbers so that if a card is lost, I would know which group it belonged to. You can find the answer sheet I used here. I also included the answer key, but I realize that’s kind of dumb because you don’t have the equations I used. I ended up using some from the list on Walking in Mathland and some from our textbook.
If you play, tell me how it turns out!