Exponent rules.....teaching them is another necessary evil. I LOVE solving problems with exponent rules! They are like a puzzle to me. But my students hate them. They don't "get" them, they say they don't know where to start. And now I have a structured study hall, where I help the students with their classwork...and the students in there hate them too! Every year students come to me in Algebra 2 and they don't remember the rules. But we use them so much in Algebra 2 that they really need to learn them. I figure it is like learning the grammar rules for writing. Something you need to know in order to do the next thing. So in the spirit of "if it isn't working, change it", I decided to change up my teaching.
So this year when I taught exponent rules to my classes, I used the Grudge game to introduce them, adapted from Nathan Kraft's Blogpost. Click HERE to see his original post. I did this on Day 1 and I absolutely loved it! The kids were engaged and competitive and they did great! They even showed they remembered some exponent rules from Algebra 1. I usually don't like games in my classroom but this one was fantastic! All the kids participated. I did bribe them a bit with candy, but hey, you gotta do what works right? End of day 1 was FANTASTIC! This is going to be great!
Here is the PowerPoint (Dropbox) I used to play the game. Feel free to change it. But at least it gives you a place to start. :) The image to the right shows the rules I used to help me remember how to play it for future use. I love this game so much, I can't wait to try it again. :)
So continuing with the need for a change, I also changed the exponent foldable I usually use to a book of exponents, modeled after Sarah Hagan's from Math = Love. I liked the way she laid it out and hoped that it would work better than then one I used last year. Although I love the book, and the layout, I'm not entirely sure it was better than the one I used previously. My students still struggle with the rules and the test they took showed they still have gaps of understanding. (I gave the test before Christmas so my post is a little out of date. ;) )
So back to the drawing board for next year and for reassessing. But I am keeping the game. I think that was the perfect introduction to exponent rules for Algebra 2. However, I need to rethink the rest of it.
Feel free to share your success with exponent rules with me and others! :)