I am reviewing Binomial Expansion with my support kiddos and I wanted an activity that had them working. I had them breakup into partners and then explained the activity. I had the following chart on the board to help explain.
I printed 6 copies of the pdf attached below and cut up the problems and placed them in the bags above. Problems 16 where in Bag A, 712 in Bag B, 1318 in Bag C, 1964 in Bag D, and 69100 in Bag E. I increased the point value as the problems increased in difficulty. LEAVE THE QUESTION #S ATTACHED TO EACH SLIP OF PAPER. (Trust me, this will save your sanity) I also need to mention that I did not create the worksheet or answer sheetI believe as the pdf states, that Steve Blade did. Thank you Steve Blade! I then let students pick which bag to draw a problem from and I recorded the problem number on my grade sheet in the corresponding Bag letter. The last page of the PDF has all solutions on it. I just looked at the number on the slip and checked it with the corresponding number on the solution page! The advantage of printing multiple sheets and having students draw, this eliminated groups working together or copying off eachother. I did not let students pick another problem till they got their current one correct. What I liked: 1) Gave students the opportunity to choose what type of problem they complete 2) Limited the number of types of problems the did to 3 of each kind 3) Gave students the flexibility to earn a higher grade and their grade was a true reflection of their effort Recommendations: 1) Encourage students to try all bagsI had students get stuck on the harder problems from Bag E and waste a good bit of time 2) I let my students earn up to a 130 on this assignment
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I LOVE when I can bring the life of a mathematician into a lesson. Binomial Theorem/Expansion is a great example of this! I always introduce Binomial Expansion by first having my student complete an already started copy of Pascal's Triangle. This is one warmup that every student does without prompting. They see it as a puzzle and not "math" but you may have to encourage students to keep looking for the pattern. When they enter the classroom, I hand them the sheet, wear a beret, and only speak in French. My french is limited and it is easy to see who the French students are on how they respond to my questions. I keep up the French speaking through the warmup and then I go into the life of Blaise Pascal. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal) Once that is done I introduce Binomial Expansion and tie that into Pascal's Triangle. I find that this method makes Binomial Expansion a little more exciting. Now, while I find BE very thrilling and lifechanging, my students typically do not. I find the French speaking and little history lesson make a somewhat less thrilling topic a little more exciting. I also recommend teaching your students how to logically expand these problems and not have them memorize the different formulas. This is a concept were students can pick up on the pattern quickly and ignore the formal definition of the formula!

Natalie Turbiville
Educator who loves math and working with students. Archives
May 2016
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