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Math Review Game "Raffle Ticket"

Today we played a Raffle Ticket Review Game in my Precalculus class. It was a huge success. The students were the most excited about doing math than I have ever seen. That may be because the semester is almost over (we are reviewing for the semester exam) or it may be because I haven't had them do many activities due to the pandemic. But they all wore their masks, tried to stay away from each other, and had a good time.

I will explain here how it works.

In this class, I printed the numbers on a sheet of paper, used the document camera to shine them on the board, and then students put the sticky notes on the board. You could also project the numbers from your computer screen.

Materials needed

  • A set of problems for the students to work on - one copy per student
  • The answers to that set of problems - for the teacher's use
  • The numbers 1 to 100 (or potentially 1 to 120) either written on the board or projected on the board through a computer or document camera
  • A stack of sticky notes (optional, see more below)
  • A random number generator (you could use your TI-84 or google)
  • Prizes for the winner (e.g. candy, stickers, a homework pass)

In one class instead of using the projector, I wrote the numbers 1 to 100 on the whiteboard.

How to Play

  1. Put the students in groups of 2 or 3 (because of the pandemic I allowed students to work on their own if they wanted). I like to use the Random Name Picker on to put my students in random groups.
  2. Give the students the set of problems (if you're interested in the EDITABLE set of problems I used with my Honors Precalculus students, get it here for FREE; I also have a set of problems for Calculus).
  3. The students work on the problems in any order and at their own pace. Partners should work on the same problem at the same time - I don't want them to tag-team (e.g. one partner does problem 1 while the other does problem 2) because I want all students to try all the problems. 
  4. When students finish a problem, they go to you to have it checked. If they have the right answer,  initial their paper. If the answer is wrong, you could give guidance on how they can get to the right answer. Let the students have the opportunity to retry and correct a problem as many times as it takes; this is where learning happens
  5. After they have the right answer, the individual/group chooses a number from 1 to 100. This is their Raffle Ticket Number. They put their name or initials on a sticky note, then put the sticky note on the number to identify that number as theirs. OPTIONAL: If the numbers are projected onto a whiteboard, students could write their initials directly on the board.
  6. The process repeats until either you run out of time or you run out of questions. This means that students will have a handful of Raffle Ticket Numbers by the time the activity ends.
  7. In the end, the teacher randomly selects 2 or 3 numbers using a random number generator (e.g. just google "random number generator"). Those groups whose numbers were selected, get a prize!

Students put their initials on a sticky note, then put the sticky note on a number of their choice. I did this for 2 consecutive classes. It was easy to remove the sticky notes after the first class.

Does this activity work for distance learning?

I had one student who joined us virtually. I made it work like this:

  • I sent him the questions via email before class. 
  • I paired him up with a student in the room.
  • I set up my computer (I could have borrowed a student's computer) to face the board with the raffle ticket numbers so that he could see which numbers were available. My computer, the student in the room and the student at home were all in the same Google Meet. My computer had the microphone and the speakers off so that there were no issues with the sound.  (I was not able to use my computer during the activity; borrowing a student's computer for the Google Meet would solve that problem.)
  • This system worked very well. One issue could be if I had more than one student who was virtual; I would have to figure out how to do break-out rooms in Google Meet (I haven't had to do that yet). And, of course, the student at home doesn't have the chance to receive a physical prize.

Click here to get the EDITABLE set of problems I used with my Honors Precalculus students.

Click here to get the set of problems for Calculus students.

Why I like it

I am a fan of any activity where the students 

  • are doing math,
  • are moving around the room,
  • are working together, and
  • are NOT being penalized for solving problems slowly.

Read my blog post about Why You Should Not Reward Speed in Math Class. The great thing about this activity is that a student who only did one problem can totally be a winner if their number gets chosen!

This Raffle Ticket activity ticks all the boxes for me. And today one student was so excited about getting a problem right that he was punching the air with his fist!

Other tips

  • Another option I have seen for this is the teacher has a piece of paper with the numbers 1 to 300 printed on them (made with a spreadsheet). When a student gets a question right, they come to the teacher to write their initials on a number of their choice on the piece of paper.
  • I give this tip any time I talk about doing activities in class: play music! The students always respond to it. I often play music while my students are working. It lifts the mood. Since it's December, I was playing my Holiday playlist.
  • Don’t let a group win more than once. For example, if one group chose the numbers 8 and 52 and both of those numbers get chosen by the random number generator, then only allow them to win once; choose another number to allow another winner
  • If the random number generator lands on a number that was not selected by anyone then just move to the next number.
  • If you have a small-ish class, then you may want to have the numbers 1 to 100. Otherwise, you will have a lot of un-selected numbers and it might take several tries of the random number generator to select a winning number.
  • I played this activity today with 11 questions and 9 groups. I stopped the activity after 50 minutes. Only one group had done all of the problems.
  • If your projector shines on a whiteboard, the students can write directly on the board. If your projector shines on a SmartBoard, I suggest you use sticky notes.

Go here to read about another activity I do in my classes: Sticky Points Review Game

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