Today I was working on making a chart for my 7th grade kiddos about the commutative, associative, identity properties of addition and multiplication and the zero property of multiplication. What I created is in the photo below:
It is just your basic table of properties and I wasn't in love with this. I thought color would help and it did, but not enough for me to be satisfied. I liked that this year I was going to have the kiddos decide how they would remember the property whether it was by a key word, picture, phrase, etc. It will be more meaningful to them if they come up with something like "changes places" for the commutative properties than if I just tell them a key word.
I just remembered somewhere in the back of my head doing an activity that was actually interactive. So the hunt through the computer files began. I did come across an activity that I did a couple of years ago. It was an information gap. If you aren't familiar with an information gap, students are partnered up and each partner has missing information on their sheet. The other partner has the information that each one needs, so through questioning each other they learn how to fill in their gaps. It is an ELL technique that I learned several years ago. It is actually really hard for the students to figure out how to ask for the information that they need. They want to just copy each others' paper.
Here is the information gap that I developed for Lesson 2 of Saxon Math, Course 3. Saxon doesn't write the property out in words, but I think that there is great value in knowing how to say and write the math in words. Therefore, I added the words section. Also, the first page is the full chart completely filled. The following two pages are for the students.
I like this idea much better than just filling out and color coding a chart. I am also thinking that this activity would be good to try using an inside-outside circle. Since it is early in the year, it would give them a chance to talk to everyone in the class.
If you liked the format that I used at the beginning, you are welcome to it. Here it is: