In this math lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6, 7, and 8, students use BrainPOP resources and a free online game to to explore mathematical concepts. They will describe, represent, and apply numbers using mental strategies, paper/pencil and technology through an online game. Students will also identify, describe, extend, and create numeric patterns and functions, and interpret and write a rule for a one operation function table.
- Describe, represent, and apply numbers using mental strategies, paper/pencil or technology.
- Identify, describe, extend, and create numeric patterns and functions.
- Interpret and write a rule for a one operation function table.
Preparation:Familiarize yourself with the game, which can be used to teach and reinforce an understanding of algebraic expressions. The goal of this puzzle is to test out security robots ("bots" for short), which are differently-shaped figures on springs whose job it is to progress down a path and explode the wall that lies at the end of all the paths.
Each "bot" is the shape of a polygon, and its shape determines the way it will travel down a particular path. The number of sides of the polygonal robot indicates how many tiles the "bot" will move with each bounce. A triangle, for instance, indicates that the "bot" would bounce on every third floor tile. Players must place each polygonal robot on the 0 area of correct path (to the left side of the path). When the players push the button below each "bot," it bounces along to the right. Players also have to make sure their "bots" avoid obstacles, such as dynamite, bombs, electrified tiles, or some combination of all three. An obstacle will destroy the "bot." If one "bot" successfully completes each path, the wall on the right side is broken and the player earns a reward.
You can check out the Introducing Labyrinth to Your Students page for tips on setting the stage and expectations for game play with your students. The Lure of the Labyrinth website produced by Maryland Public Television also provides game overviews, additional lesson plans (which portions of this lesson have been adapted from), standards alignment, graphic organizers, and more.
- Show the Equations with Variables movie. Turn on closed captioning to aid students in comprehension, and pause as needed to discuss.
- Pass out the photocopies of Activity One and have students complete it with a partner. Help facilitate students' conversations to encourage a rich and active discussion of math strategies and concepts.
- Introduce students to the game by projecting the Graphic Novel Page. Provide students with the Graphic Organizer to use during game play.
- Allow students to explore the Game, completing the graphic organizer as they play. We suggest that students play in pairs to encourage thinking aloud and collaborating to problem solve.
- Bring the group back to a whole class discussion. Have students share strategies for helping the bots complete the paths. Talk about how the previous activity and BrainPOP resources related to the game and helped students determine their strategies. How did the graphic organizer help them choose their strategies? What other strategies might they use in the game?
- Invite students to create their own original paper and pencil version of the game. Encourage them to sketch out different paths, obstacles, and polygons. Provide time for them to trade their puzzles with friends and solve.
- For assessment, have students complete the Quiz from BrainPOP’s Equations With Variables topic.
- For additional assessment tools and extension activities, students may complete the second activity on the Interactive Resources Lesson Plan page.