Math Problem Hunt

I have the amazing opportunity to work with a small group of students who are significantly behind grade level in math. Most of these students have attention difficulties (ADD), and find it very challenging to sit still as they learn (probably why they are so far behind). After they’ve received explicit instruction, the goal is for them to practice what they’ve learned, right? Well, why give them a worksheet that requires them to sit still for a length of time, when you can write problems on post-its, hide them around the room, and have students walk around and find them?! They end up solving the exact same problems, and it is MUCH more engaging. They are also able to exert a lot of energy finding the questions so they can sustain enough focus to actually solve it!

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To differentiate, I color coded the post-its. As you can see, the blue post-its are easier to solve, yellow is more challenging, and orange is most difficult. The level of difficulty corresponded with the how hard they were to find. For example, the blue post-its were in very obvious locations (easy to find), the yellow post-its were harder to find, and the orange ones were hidden very well. This was great because my lower learners were able to easily spot the blue post-its to  practice the new skill and allowed them to participate in the activity with other students. My higher level students were challenged by the harder problems.

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I had so much fun hiding these post-its. I made sure NOT to put them in drawers, cabinets, or under stuff (what a mess that could be!). I told students that all of the post-its could be found by simply looking around tables, chairs, trash bins, walls, outside cabinets, etc.

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It was great to see some of my lower, disengaged students really motivated to find and solve some of the more challenging problems. If you plan to do this activity with a large group of students, behavior management may be a nightmare. Try to predict all of the possible problems and address them before starting the activity (i.e. give SUPER explicit directions and model).

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