Practice Using the Properties of Exponents Through Games

    If you’re reading this right now, chances are you are currently teaching or about to be teaching the laws of exponents. In my experience, simplifying expressions can get very redundant. Many students get discouraged and check out early on. Your best chance for getting everyone involved is to spice things up a bit – check out these 3 activities that you can create on a rainy afternoon!

    1. Gallery Walk

    A gallery walk is the most simple to put together. Simply gather 10-12 problems and hang them on the wall around your room. Students will walk around the room to complete each problem. These problems can come from your textbook, a worksheet, or ones that you have made up. I usually make sure there are 10-12 “stations.” This could mean 12 individual problems, or sometimes, when I know completing them will take awhile, 6 problems that repeat one time. Pair each student with a partner and have them rotate every 3 minutes (adjust as needed)!

    Check out this great Gallery Walk practicing the product rule, power of a product rule, and quotient rule.

    2. Memory Game

    Enough said! Who doesn’t like a good game of memory? Just incase you’ve never played, here is what to do. First, cut up several square cards. Write an expression that needs simplified on one card and the answer on another card. Continue until you have 10-12 problems written down. Students will shuffle cards and place them in a grid face down. The object is to turn over “matching” pair (an expression and it’s simplified version) on their turn. Students will take turns flipping over two cards at a time while they try to memorize where the matches are. If they get a match, they keep the cards. Partner with the most matches by the end of the game wins!

    This game is great because both partners must complete EVERY problem to make sure the other partner makes a correct match. It is a great way to encourage peer-to-peer instruction as well!

    Check out this Memory Game practicing the power of a quotient rule and power of a power rule.

    3. 4-in-a-Row Game

    The game “4-in-a-Row” may take a little more time, but it IS SO WORTH IT! You will need 2 playing boards. You will want to set it up exactly as I have shown below with a grid on top (partner’s answers) and a grid on the bottom (answers to be completed by student looking at this board).

    Here are the directions as I give them:
    1. Each partner picks a color counter and folds their board.  Place boards back-to-back.
    2.  Partner #1 picks a problem to simplify on his/her board.  He/she then calls out the answer for Partner 2 to check.  The answer will be on the top half of their playing board.  (i.e. “Is B4 x to the 3rd?”)
    – If answer is CORRECT, both students place that person’s color counter in that space (in this example over B4). Partner 2 can no longer solve this problem on his/her board.
    – If answer is INCORRECT, no counter is placed on the board and play is handed over to Partner #2.
    3.   Play continues until one student has 4 counters of his color in a row. 

    Laws of Exponents 4-in-a-Row Game

    Check out this 4-in-a-Row Game practicing the product rule, quotient rule, power of a product rule, power of a quotient rule and power of a power rule, zero exponent and negative exponent rules!

    Let me know if you have any questions below. I would love to hear how these turned out in your classroom!

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