8 Ideas for Sub Plans in Secondary Math

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At some point, all teachers have to miss school.  Between illness, field trips, coaching responsibilities, and life everyone misses a day at some point…. and it’s a huge pain.

I try to keep continuity while I’m gone, and have students work on something that we have been doing in class.  However, that’s not always possible.  If you get sick in the middle of the night or something happens on the way to work, you may not get a chance to organize sub plans.  My school requires that we keep emergency sub plans in a binder, just in case.  They have to be educational, at least sort of related to the content area in which we teach, and keep student occupied and out of trouble.  Yeah, in math, that’s not always easy!

These 8 ideas can be used in almost any level high school math class.  Some would work better for older students or younger students, but all could be modified to suit your needs in a pinch.

This statistics lesson is accessible for any high school student.  Also, let’s be real, EVERYONE needs this lesson.  Have you watched the news?  It is an online lesson, but if you’re not 1:1 the sub could click through the screens on the projector and students could write their answers on notebook paper.

This lesson teaches students about different number bases and the history behind them.  It’s interesting and different, which your students just may love.

You can’t go anywhere right now without seeing emojis.  They’ve pretty much taken over.  These logic puzzles are a combination of the logic puzzles you see plastered on social media and the emoji craze.  Between the 32 task cards and the extra worksheet, I’ll be able to split it into two days worth of sub plans.

This is a fun activity if you have access to some blocks or math cubes.  Students will build their own figures and draw them with a partner.  There is also a stations maze to wrap everything up.

The birthday problem is a common example used in statistics, but it’s fun to do with any math class! This video would probably be better for older or honors students, but it really is fun.

Between the seven stations, the extra editable stations, the worksheet AND the extension activities, this could easily be used as more than one day of sub plans.  JACKPOT!  I love that kindness and growth mindset are included because my students ALWAYS need reminders about both of those!

I’ll be honest, I did this lesson myself.  It was actually really interesting.  This is a lesson that I think students would be interested in, and it’s pretty accessible to any high school student.

I’m not going to lie; I love this.  It’s an article that was posted in The Atlantic and is wonderful at explaining that being good at math is the product of hard work - not good genes.  I plan to have my students read this and write a paragraph or two about whether they agree or disagree.  Yay for writing in math!

Side Note:  Many of these require students to watch a video for a few minutes.  In this case, I've found that students tend to stay on task better if they share devices with a partner and each use one earbud.  In my experience, having a partner tends to keep them on the correct website a little more. (It's at least worth a try!)  Also, I like to keep a few extra pairs of these cheap earbuds on hand for the forgetful kids.

Have you used any of these on a sub day?How did it turn out?

1 comment

1. It would be helpful if I could print or at least copy + paste this info