Equation Headbands

Last year, I read a post about Quadratic Headbanz by Mary Bourassa and thought it sounded like a great game!

I’ve been teaching mostly all MFM2P classes (applied grade 10 Mathematics) for the last two semesters. In the 2P course we only get into quadratic equations superficially. So I’ve been making mostly linear headbands for my groups. I’ve used the game in both my grade 9 and grade 10 applied classes so far. Here’s how it works:

I bought wide ribbon from the Dollar Store & cut lengths long enough to tie around their heads in a bow at the back; about 1 meter long I think? Then I wrote out a variety of linear equations on strips of paper that I taped to the ribbons:IMG_7869

Playing the game:

  • Each student is given an equation headband.
  • They are instructed to put the headband they were given on someone else who is not seated at their group ensuring that the person can’t see the equation you are putting on them.
  • Students walk around the room asking yes/no questions of their classmates. Questions such as “Is my slope positive?”. Classmates may answer yes, no or I don’t know. They are not allowed to ask the same classmate two questions in a row.
  • When they think they know their equation, they come to me and tell me their answer. If wrong, I send them back out to their classmates to keep trying. If they are correct, I remove their headband for them and send them back out to answer the questions of those students still working to determine their equations.

In the past few weeks I added a new step to this game: graphing. Not only did you need to determine your equation, but you had to create a correct graph on a handheld whiteboard with the Cartesian plane.
My students found it tough but they did it! A good number of my kids knew their equation but were struggling to graph it. It was awesome to watch the stronger students that finished first go back and help teach their peers how to use the slope and y-intercept to make their graph (I had to remind them often not to graph it for them, help them by explaining & asking questions … “don’t touch their marker!”).IMG_7823

I use this game as a bellwork (although it takes longer than the usual bellwork task) on days when we might be doing more individual practice and thus fairly sedentary for the rest of class. This is a great way to have everybody up and moving around the room, talking to different classmates before settling in to the main seat work on a given day.

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)