Sum Fun…Task Cards Game

I found this Area, Perimeter, and Volume Task Card Game and loved how rigorous and engaging the activity was for my students. The activity kept my students on task, talking about the problems, and…

I stumbled across this resource and loved how rigorous and engaging the activity was for my students. The activity kept my students on task, talking about the problems, and working together to determine the correct answers for each set of cards.

What is Sum Fun?

I almost overlooked this teaching resource initially, because I thought that it was an activity for students to practice addition problems. Yes!

Yes! They will have to “sum” in the activity…

…but only after applying their knowledge of perimeter, area, and volume.

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You can find the Sum Fun Task Card Game on TeachersPayTeachers

How do Students Play Sum Fun?

  • Students find the answers to a set of problems on the task cards.
  • They add all of their answers together and check with the teacher to determine if their sum is correct.
  • If the students are correct, they move to a new set of cards.
  • If an error was made in their calculations, the students will re-work the problems to find which part of their sum is not correct.

This process allows for collaboration about the mathematics, and teacher support as needed.

Ways to Use Sum Fun

The best part of Sum Fun is the collaborative nature of the task cards!

Groups of Four

I had my students work in groups of four for this activity. Each set of cards has four questions and that allowed each person in the group to be accountable for one problem.

The accountability in this task card game increased engagement. There were no students off task.

Students who struggled had the support of their teammates to help guide them through their problem as needed. Students were working their problem, trading and checking each other before asking the teacher to confirm their sum.

Paired and Individual Practice

I could also see this working for pairs of students, individual students, small group instruction, or split entirely and used as a task card activity.

Sum Fun is definitely an activity I would want to use again. I look forward to seeing what other topics will be available using the Sum Fun teaching activity.  Check out this

Check out Sum Fun on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here is the link to the Sum Fun set I bought, Area, Perimeter, and Volume Task Card Game.

I’m a Teacher, You Want Me to do Action Research?

What is action research?

As an aspiring administrator, I had no idea what it meant when my principal said to base my professional development on action research. I had no idea as to what it even entailed.

I envisioned researchers with lab coats and paperwork. Where was I suppose to begin my path to action research? How would it benefit me professionally within my classroom?

I started off by reading a few chapters in the book Action Research: Improving Schools and Empowering Educators. I was wowed at what I learned and how it can truly benefit my classroom instruction, my students, and my own professional growth.

When Professional Development Doesn’t Make Sense

As educators, we are forced to sit through professional development that we find irrelevant and unrealistic. It just doesn’t fit with our day-to-day interactions in the classroom.

We are presented with educational best practices that are so high-level. It feels like we are given the impossible task of implementing things we don’t clearly understand. And we are not given enough time to truly implement the task.

Taking Ownership Through Action Research

Action research has one focus: improvement. It gives you permission to focus on your issues. Take the challenges you are facing in your own classroom, study them, and understand how to improve them.

Action research is a way you can critically reflect on your teaching practices. You will use data to analyze your instructional approaches and  logically increase your own effectiveness.

Going through this process is real professional development. It is not just sit-and-forget training. It is not pie-in-the-sky research. It is about action.

How you can do it!

Action research is a cycle in which you plan, act, develop, reflect, and repeat or improve as needed. Find something that you want to improve in your classroom. Then study the impact. Because yes, you have an impact in your classroom!

You have an impact in the lives of your students!

Action Research: Finding My Impact

Action research is about measuring your impact and increasing it. Here’s how.

  1. Plan: Create a simple plan. What teaching strategy do you want to improve? What do you think is having the best impact on student learning? Start there.
  2. Act: Implement an adjustment or small change to your teaching strategy. Use the changed strategy with one group of students. Use the older version with another group of students. That’s the research part.
  3. Develop: Gather data to measure the results. Give a pretest to each group. After a few weeks of developing the new strategy, give a posttest to each group. Average the scores for each group.
  4. Reflect: Which group had the biggest growth from the pretest to posttest? Why do you think this is so? Do you or the students think the changed strategy was part of the cause?
  5. Repeat: Do the cycle again. Keep the change if there was evidence that the newer strategy is having a bigger impact. Discard the changed strategy if it is not having a bigger impact. Make one more adjustment and continue the cycle.

Action research is about continual improvement and growth. It is about innovating new teaching strategies to help students learn more.

My Action Research in Middle School Math

My principal and I have decided to research the effects of small group instruction in the secondary math classroom. I’m tweaking a few aspects of this strategy. Hopefully, the students will learn more and learn deeper as a result.

Tap here to read more about Small Group Math Instruction.

I’ve used small group instruction in my secondary math classroom for the past year. I work with middle school students, some of whom struggle in math. I have seen success with using this approach, but it’s mostly been trial and error. I have not done any research.

Is there a way to gain even more success in my classroom using this small group approach? Timing, previewing, direct instruction, spiral review?  What works best? What combinations of strategies should I use? These are the overarching questions guiding my action research.

What is it that you are hoping to improve in your classroom? How could you use action research to take your students to high levels of learning? Do you already use action research in your classroom? What advice would you give? Please share your thoughts. Thanks @mafost for co-authoring!