Friday was our weekly warm-up quiz using Socrative. I’m happy with the system that I now have in place for these warm-ups/warm-up quizzes (took a few weeks of tweaking!) On their weekly warm up sheet, I leave a space for students to show work for this quiz. I love Socrative and how quickly it can assess the students, but typing in answers on the iPad really gives me no proof of their steps or work. Since I collect the warm-up sheet each Friday, this space now allows me to look through it, and find mistakes that are made, if any.

For the lesson that day, we focused on adding and subtracting fractions. This, just like many of the topics in the beginning of the year, is somewhat of a review, but still important to practice. After some class notes and examples, students partook in a “Math Relay” — or… what should have been a Math Relay.

Instead of the typical “relay” where one student solves a problem then passes it back to the next person in their row, I decided to put the whole row as one team working together (I didn’t want anyone just sitting for too long).

They had 8 minutes to simplify as many fraction problems as they could, as a TEAM. They could each work separately and then compare, or work together and come up with the final answer, but they only had the 8 minutes.

This went really well for the first 2 periods. There were some intense moments when the timer started counting down (a prize was at hand!)

I’d like to say the activity was perfect, but as the day went on, we ran out of time before even checking the answers! Still, I was glad they got to collaborate with classmates and practice adding and subtracting fractions, while having some competitive fun (did I mention there was a prize?!)

Today, we had a bit more time to review and went on to practice adding and subtracting with mixed numbers.

## About Gretchen Simmerson

Middle School math teacher living in Austin, Texas.