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Sum, Difference, and Double Angle Identities Scavenger Hunt

No one likes to teach new material the day before Spring Break, amiright?

Each year in my Precalculus class, the days before Spring Break are toward the end of the unit on Trigonometric Identities and Equations. 

This year I spent one class period on the sum and difference identities and one class period on the double angle identities (we don't teach the half-angle identities). Then I had one more class period that fell on the day before Spring Break.

Not only do I not *want* to teach new material on the day before Spring Break, but we are not *allowed* to assign homework over any break that has a season in it (Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break). So, what to do?

A Scavenger Hunt!

I put it together during my planning periods on the two days before - my calculus classes were reviewing for a test and then took a test, so I had little prep work to do for them.

Let's continue the conversation. Join me in my Facebook group.

How many questions do you need?

Our periods are 65 minutes, and I made 10 questions. I figured, if the students finished with time remaining, then we could just hang out for the last part of class, and if they didn't finish, then... well, the class period was full! (One of my education professors in college always said, "the best solution to classroom management problems is a well-planned lesson plan." You know what? He's right!)

As it turns out, we didn't start until about 20 minutes into the period. I had a few things to do first:

(1) I wanted them to do a short survey where I asked them questions about their progress to this point and how they plan to improve. I do this because I have to write an individualized comment for each student due the day we return from Spring Break (ugh).

(2) We had to go over the quizzes on solving trig equations and verifying trig identities and 

(3) we had to review their double angle identities homework. So we had about 45 minutes for the Scavenger Hunt activity.

How does it work?

It's super simple; I printed out the 10 stations and the answer key (for myself). 

I also copied the sheets for the students to show their work- but the students could also do the work on their own paper. 

I posted the 10 stations around the room (on the walls and the windows). Sometimes when I do this, I will post a question in the hallway, but I opted not to this time.

You can post the stations in order or not.

I used a deck of cards to pair the students randomly. For example, in one class, there were 14 students; I pulled out the Ace through 7 of diamonds and Ace through 7 of clubs, shuffled those cards, and had the students choose a card. The students with Aces were partners, the students with 2's were partners, etc.

Then I just let them choose a station to start, and off they go.

I played music while they worked, which kept the room's mood upbeat.
(I have a Spotify playlist called Students. Most of the songs are my top songs from the 80s (I LOVE the 80s), with a few songs that my students shared with me in the survey I gave them on the first day of school. I had to research most of the songs because they were either hard rock or hard rap or had inappropriate lyrics.)

How did it go?

It went really well! It took the students a lot longer to solve the problems than I had anticipated, so that was good because I would rather the activity take too long and fill the period than be too short.

Occasionally I had to give tips or find errors in their work, but for the most part, I could sit back and watch the students get to work. 

No one finished before the end of the period, but all students were engaged during the time they had to work, and I can't ask for more than that for the day before Spring Break!

Click here to see the Scavenger Hunt that I used. There are 2 versions: one for on-level students and one for honors students.

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