Go Fish! in Math Class


Hey my TMC17 buddy, @kcnorojo!  This post is for you!

As an intro to reducing radicals…  I place students into groups of 3 or 4 and we play several rounds of Go Fish!  This by the way was not my original idea.  I will need to dig some to find the original post.  But I have used it multiple times with all attitudes of students and it has been a great concrete introduction.

Just in case you’ve never played.  Here are the official rules from hoylegaming.com

Each player gets five cards. If you are dealt a four of a kind, or get four of a kind during game play, those cards are removed from your hand, and you get a point. Moving clockwise, players take turns asking a specific player for a given rank of card.

I actually adjust the rules a bit in each round.  And I believe we start with seven cards as well.  Game ends when someone runs out of cards OR I call time.

Round 1:  Students must have a pair for a match.  Only a pair works.  I allow them to play for several minutes to get the flow of the game.  When the timer goes off, I ask them to count their matches and high five those with the most points.

Round 2:  Students must have a group of three for a match.  Even IF you have the 4th card in the set, you CANNOT lay it down with the match.  Again, when timer goes off, I ask them to count matches and we celebrate the winners.

Round 3:  Students must have an entire set of four cards to complete / lay down their match.  This round goes on just a bit longer.  Timer, count matches, celebrate winners.

Round 4:  I ask them to deal out the cards – and this time they must have a set of 5 to make a match.  A few usually continue to deal out the cards, but several pause and say – but we can’t!  There are only four cards of each type.  Yes!

We have a discussion about which round was their favorite to play.  Which round was toughest?  Which round was their least favorite.  Usually – Round 2…with three in a set, because IF you end up with the last card, you can never lay it down, thus never emptying your hand to end the game.  Hmmmm.

I literally draw a radical on the board and describe how it “sort of” looks like my hand when I hold a bunch of cards.  I make a big deal of the index on the radical – it tells us the rules of the game.  The Go Fish! game lends it to this part very well.  Though these are not the greatest examples, hopefully they will give you a quick idea of what the notes may look like.

We practice several on whiteboards and write a reflection at the end of the work.  Then I have them open their INBs and write out a few examples to complete – notate for future reference / study.  Depending on the class, I may offer a few examples if they are unable to create some on their own.

Depending on the remaining time in class, I will then pass out the Radical Rummy cards to the groups.  I have gone over how we can type in the problems on our graphing calculators – rational exponents, radicals, etc.  I explain that every card will match to form a group of 4.


When a group has gotten their matches complete, I have them create a small poster or use whiteboards to list equivalent expressions.  We then begin a notice / wonder.  I jot down their ideas, testing some as we go along, but letting them decide if their “rule” for the rational exponents holds true.

I like this task after the Go FISH! and simplifying a few radical expressions because it shows them how the rational exponents are simply asking us to find that amount of the factors.  For example, an exponent of 1/3 asks us to find 1/3 of the factors of say 8.  Since 8 = 2*2*2 and we have 3 factors, I want 1/3 of them, so 2 if the 1/3 power of 8.

There are also come GREAT discussions that arise about the negative exponents and what mathematical operations they are telling us to do.

I would love to hear how you approached these same skills and how it goes!


#springbreak in DC


Not me.  My daughter.  If I am honest, I was a bit nervous about letting her go without me.  Really, I was just jealous. And now, I am trying to remember why exactly I did not go.  Regret.

A few summers ago, my parents took the grand kids to DC and I got to tag along as an extra adult.  I have always loved my visits to DC.  Often times growing up, our summer family vacation would have a historical connection.  But DC was forever my favorite.

That summer, S had just completed elementary school, so still a bit young – but I felt it would be great to see the places she would study throughout school or the memorials, museums about historical events and people who have impacted our history.  She especially wanted to visit Lincoln Memorial – not because we are from Kentucky and he lived in Kentucky, but because she had studied Martin Luther King, Jr’s I have a dream speech… she wanted to stand on those steps.  We also made our way over the the MLK Jr. Memorial that day…

I had not been to DC since before the Holocaust Museum, so I was very excited about visiting it that summer.  Seeing, hearing the silence in some rooms, the smell of the shoes – death, and the letter / picture hand drawn by a young child…  all touched me.

This past weekend, my daughter said she looked forward to going back to the Holocaust Museum.  She remembered going, but she didn’t understand it.  Since, however, she has studied, read books and had numerous discussions lead by her teachers (pubic school) – and they have all had an impact on her view of this tragedy in history.  She said she was looking forward to experiencing the Holocaust Museum, now that she knew what it was about.

Today was their first day in DC…the trees in bloom, Ford’s Theater, the 50 anniversary of MLK Jr’s. death and getting to fully experience the Holocaust Museum…

I look forward to hearing all about her adventures.  I am grateful to her many teachers who have had a positive impact on her and brought her opportunities to learn, think and connect with the past…  so she can learn, think and be a positive impact as she steps into her future…