Made4Math #5 Polynomial Station Activities


Its been one of those busy weeks, so I’ve not actually created anything “new” but decided to share something I used last spring.  The idea developed after @lmhenry9 tweeted a need for ideas to use with polynomial stations.  A month or so later – I decided to use a similar idea.

I purchased a bag of 8 wooden blocks from Hobby Lobby ~ $3.  Used my sharpie to add expressions to the blocks.  Created instruction cards for each station.  Based on a pre-assessment, I grouped kids by similar struggles – those who were a step ahead could “play” more game-like activites – while I could spend time with groups who needed some extra support.  We spent a couple of days in class rotating activities.  I think most pictures are self explanatory.

1.  Collecting Like Terms


2.  Adding / Subtracting Polynomials* – let students know which “color” block is the first polynomial.  For a little discussion, ask if it really matters?  If so, when/why?


3.  Multiply Monomial x Polynomial


4.  Binomial x Binomial


5.  Factor Match – I didn’t have orginal copies with me to scan – but will get them posted here asap.



I also had a station utilzing a Tarsia-style puzzle with variety of polynomial multiplication expressions.

Tic Tac Times – Students pick 2 factos listed at bottom of the page and multiply.  Place game piece on the product.  First player to get 3 or 4 (you pick the rules) in a row, wins!  For more challenge, each player must use one of the factors just used by their opponent.

* A sidebar – while creating my blocks – my daughter asked what I was doing.  I replied – making a game for my students to play.  She asked – can I play it to?  My first instinct was to tell her No – but I bit my tongue.  And then I remembered a problem she had left on my board one day afterschool and my students had asked me what it was… (After school, she and a couple of other “teachers’ kids” hang out in my room and play school.) I realized it was very similar to how she had been adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers in class this year.  So I explained how the x^2 was like her 100’s, x was like the 10’s and the # was just one’s.  She rolled the blocks and did a few problems…I’m thinking – if a 2nd grader can do it – so can 9th graders, right?

So I went in the next day – and shared “her lesson” with the class.    I gave an example like the one above – referring back to the problem they had seen on my board.  They understood the process of decomposing the numbers to add/subtract.  I connected the example to (3x^2+4x+2)+(2x^2+3x+5) to get (5x^2+7x+7) – good to go.  Then I asked, WHAT IF we let x = 10…  you know – not one student missed these problems again…

21 responses »

  1. Never knew they had wooden blocks at Hobby Lobby that you could make into dice!!! This one is totally getting Pinned!!! Great connection with your students and your daughter too… sweet story 🙂

  2. I love the wooden blocks. You could use the polynomial ones again when you get to rational functions. The game could just be to state the asymptotes. Great!

    • I would be happy to, except they are boxed up at school. I just created random expressions, including positive and negative terms. I tried to think about common errors my students might make. The examples in the pictures hopefully give you an idea of what I included.

      You can easily take this idea to many other concepts as well. One block could include slope, another y-intercept. Students creats equation and 1) sketches graph 2) writes a scenario the equation could model 3) transpose equation to another form, such as standard 4) find a line parallel or perpendicular 5) create a rectangle with one side included on given line, find equations of lines that include the other 3 sides

  3. Pingback: KCM 2014 Links | the radical rational...

  4. I asked our shop class to make the blocks out of scrap pieces of wood, didn’t have to spend a thing! Great idea, thanks much.

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  6. Pingback: Adding and Subtracting Polynomials Activity | Math = Love

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