Monday, May 27, 2013

#Made4Math: Alien Invaders

I am so excited to get back in the swing of #Made4Math Mondays.  This makes 2 in a row for me!!!  It has been too long and ideas have been rattling around in my head for months.  This project is a spin off of Splat!, in which students use flyswatters to swat the correct answer to a factoring question.  In Alien Invaders, students will use laser pointers or flashlights to select correct answers!  Hopefully, the kids won't notice the similarities since one will be played in the Fall and the other in the Spring.  For Alien Invaders, I started out by creating my own creatures, so that I was not infringing on others' artwork (I'm never sure about appropriate use of  published stuff).
Being a middle aged woman, somewhat removed from little boys and aliens,
I looked to the internet for some inspiration.
The nicely shaded ones were created by true artists.

Mine were done using Promethean's ActivInspire and a bunch of shapes (feel free to improve them and then share with me:).  For this game, I will tape the aliens sporting answers to the ceiling, arm the students with death ray beams (laser pens or flashlights), prepare a stack of questions, flip the lights off and let the fun begin.

  I have created this version for trigonometry to reinforce the (x, y) coordinates of significant angles on the unit circle.  I have tutored kids from all over and noticed very few students have a good handle on being able to rattle off the sin 150 degrees or the cos 315 degrees (not that this is an important life skill, but it does prove particularly useful in trig class).  A few years ago,  I found the "Trig Hand", which I use instead of having students just memorize the entire circle.  It reinforces the importance of quadrants in determining the sign of trig ratios and reference angles.  I made Alien Invaders to practice evaluating the trigonometric ratio (without a calculator) using the trig hand, but this could be adapted to fit any question and answer scenario.
The students will be divided into four teams.  Two teams will compete against each other at one end of the room, while the other two teams are battling it out at the opposite end (so that everyone gets a turn quickly). With the lights off, I will call out a question like the sin 225 and students will use the laser pointer (flashlight) to identify the correct answer before their opponent.  
Like Splat!, I expect this to get ReALly noisy, ReALly quickly, but if they are yelling about math, I will be okay with that...and hopefully, so will the teachers in neighboring rooms.

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