I plan one of my favorite bell ringers around St. Patrick’s Day. It is an idea that I first saw in a graduate class with Dr. Linda Easley and it can be used anytime (my class was actually in the summer). The idea is simple. You share with students a significant date in history, e.g, Albert Einstein’s birthday, birthday of your state, invention of the light bulb, end of a war. The students in groups of 5 use all of the digits of the date shared to create every number 1 – 100. Yesterday, I shared about St. Patrick and his impact on others. The date my class worked with was 1783, the year of the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States. Using only the digits 1, 7, 8, 3 and using all of them each time, the students wrote equations to equal other numbers. Some examples include, 17 + 83 = 100, (1)^7 + 8 – 3 = 6, 8/1 + 7 + 3 = 18. This activity definitely reinforces the order of operations!
Activity: Have students write their original number sentences on the colored sticky notes. As students complete their equations, they will stick their colored note on the hundreds chart. Once the number has a correct equation using all of the digits in the significant date, the number is no longer in play. For example, if the yellow group places a sticky note on “10”, the blue group cannot write another equation for “10”.
During the activity: Resume music and stand at the hundreds chart o check the notes as students place them on the board. Help clear up any misconceptions groups may have regarding exactly how to write the equations. yesterday, one group only wrote “17” which was incorrect, because the other digits, 8 and 3, were not included.
Ending the activity: When the music ends, the activity is over. The music I used ran for 8 minutes – a bit longer than most bell ringers, but enough time for groups to get a good number of sticky notes on the board. I spot checked the board to verify that the bulk of sticky notes contained correct equations and removed any that did not. One person from each group, counted their groups respective colored notes. The group with the most sticky notes on the board won.