Teaching students about two-way tables in 8th grade is an interesting task. Students obviously have a background in this topic and then they need to take their knowledge to another level. I feel like in situations like this we have to make sure that all students have their background built up. One kid might get the basic idea while others are lost. We start at a pretty basic level and then work our way up to relative frequencies shown in fractions, decimals, and percents. Most of our bell work during this unit is about converting from fractions to percents. In this post I’ll share 11 activities that range from building students’ background to applying their knowledge by creating and analyzing their own two way tables.
Two way tables are especially fun because they have such a practical application. Students can actually make their own two-way tables. They enjoy asking people questions and collecting their data to then present in their own two way tables. I find that they come up with questions that are relevant to them like, “Do you have an XBOX and/or a Playstation 4?”, or “Do you own a turtle and/or a gecko?” I’m always excited when we get to do something that’s personal to students. In this post you’ll find a variety of activities that we use to learn about and practice two way tables.
The list of two-way tables activities:
Let’s dive in
Let’s look at some activities that will add a little fun and engagement to your class. These activities range from independent practice activities to whole class review games. You can use them at the beginning of class or for cyclical review throughout the year. So, let’s take a closer look at the features and uses of each of these two-way tables activities.
We use math mazes on a daily basis in my class. Kids walk in the door, grab their maze, and get to work. They work while I take attendance and then I walk around the room and check their mazes. Sometimes I let them use a calculator and sometimes I don’t. Also, I don’t tell them how to fix their work. I only tell them which problem is wrong. When they have the maze completed, I stamp their paper. Then, they turn it over to work on the problem of the day. The problem of the day usually comes from a set of task cards, a test question from our last unit test, or an error analysis problem.
This set of three mazes gives students a chance to practice converting fractions to percents. Basically, I want them to become automatic with how to get those fractions to percents so that they can compare the relative frequencies in the two way tables. This is important skills practice when getting started with two way tables. Your kids are going to love these mazes!
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If you need some additional practice for converting fractions to percents, then check out these mini task cards. Task cards can be used so many ways and get students engaged in their learning. You can play whole class games like SCOOT or you have have them work with a partner to complete them. Converting fractions to percents is a basic skill that I find that students just need a lot of practice with, so we use these task cards.
If you like to put problems up on the screen and have students complete them as a whole class, then you might want to use this two way table graphic organizer in a SmartPal sleeve (dry-erase sleeve). Using this graphic organizer just helps students to complete the table faster. Plus, you can see what the whole class is doing really easily. Some of the kids can take forever to just draw the table to write in, so this makes sure that everyone is starting out with the table already drawn. Also, students love using the SmartPals and writing with markers. We use them just about every day in my class. Click to download this free graphic organizer here.
The way that I look at it, QR Code games are basically task cards with some technology and novelty thrown in there. Students think of them as a game and all the while they don’t realize how much practice they’ve accomplished. You just need a QR code reader on your tablet or even on the students’ phones. Don’t be afraid to let them use their phones and teach them some responsibility and trust. You can read more tips for using QR codes in the classroom in this post.
This two way tables QR code game is part of our end of the year review pack. It has 12 questions about frequency and relative frequency on two -way tables. Students have to find the totals and then they play against their friends. If they get the answer right, then students get the amount of points that’s revealed through the QR Code. My students love playing this game and get a lot of great practice with it.
One day I realized that I played the same games over and over, so I decided to come up with a game I had not played with students before. That’s when I tried 20 questions. One thing that I like about this game is that it doesn’t have points. I play a lot of games with points and it seems nice to have a break. Basically, you play this game by completing a math problem and then you let the students ask yes or no questions to try and figure out a hidden character. The character is always an animal performing some sort of action like a dog playing baseball or a bull cooking dinner. I usually let 3 kids ask a question and then we move onto the next problem. They stay super engaged with the math while trying to figure out the mystery character.
This game focuses on the skills needed for analyzing two-way relative frequency tables. Kids have to convert fractions to percents, they have to find frequencies, and calculate totals. The class plays this game through a PowerPoint presentation. I have all of the students do their work on a SmartPal whiteboard (dry-erase sleeve) and show their work throughout the game.
After being introduced to a topic and seeing how to do it, students need to practice. This match and paste activity works really well as a first practice activity for two-way tables. Students work with 3 different tables. My students seem to like it when the tables have vampires and zombies on them instead of just realistic things, so these tables are a little bit ridiculous. This particular activity started up a whole conversation about whether zombies and vampires are people or not. In the end we decided that technically they are people, but monsters might be a better category for them.
As students work on this activity I make sure to walk around the room with an answer key and give kids feedback as they’re working. Due to the fact that they glue the answers down, you’ll notice some students who don’t want to glue until they know the correct answers. So, I let them know when everything looks good and then they glue.
Task cards show up in my class in pretty much every unit. I like to created task cards that build conceptually and that students can do with a partner. Also, I’m a fan of self-checking by putting the answers on the back. This gives students a chance to evaluate their learning right in the moment. The trick is that you can’t put an emphasis on completing all the task cards or getting the right answer. If done right, your students can get a lot of the feedback by checking the answer on the back of the cards.
These two way tables task cards get students practice with reading and interpreting two way tables. Plus, they’ll get practice creating a two way table with given information. These 24 task cards build students’ skills and can be used with partners, in stations, or later for cyclical review.
This color by answer page is a great anticipatory set or closure activity to check and see where students are with two way tables. In our benchmark testing we see another type of data collection that has bivariate data in Yes-No tables. Students don’t have a hard time understanding this type of data collection, but they need to see it because it isn’t super intuitive for them. We work through one together, and complete this coloring page worksheet. You can download the coloring page here.
Then, I have students ask 15 people an and/or/neither question to create their own two way table. It’s a lot of fun and really cements this in their minds. Download that two way tables practice page here.
Worksheet and Whiteboard Football
These two way tables worksheets can help you out when you need one more activity to get the students practicing. I like to add some fun with worksheets by playing a game. With this worksheet we played whiteboard football. I had the students fill-in one of the two-way tables on the worksheets and then I would ask them a whole bunch of questions about frequency and relative frequency.
We played football by having two teams, drawing a football field on the board, and using a spinner to tell us what happened after each question. Students had to make 10 yards in two downs. If they didn’t, then they had to punt. This game was so much fun, especially since much of the school year is during football season. Most of my students are football fans to some degree, so they really enjoyed playing this football themed math game. Also, they loved choosing their team name. They came up with names like Narwhals vs. Pineapples. It just added a little excitement to their math practice.
This self-paced student tutorial activity works as a fast finisher activity or for students to complete after they have some experience with this topic. Students go through a self-paced series of 12 questions. This activity really focuses on having students determine if there are associations in the data. Some kids will struggle with this because there’s a lot of reading. In my math lab classes I have a lot of kids who struggle with reading and I make sure that I scaffold this activity. I work with a small group to get through. Once nice feature is that there’s a whole class lesson plan included in this free resource from PBS learning.
In this online game from MangaHigh students get the chance to answer 10 questions. They can move up and down levels. You could use this game a couple of times throughout the unit. Also, it’s a great activity to have in your back pocket as a review activity later in the year. You can even create an account and collect information on how the students perform. Most of them enjoy that it has a gaming aspect to it. Pro tip: don’t put too much pressure on students and make sure to keep an eye out for students that struggle. This is a great opportunity to differentiate and help those students who still need the support.
In this game students will see questions about frequencies and relative frequencies. Another cool thing is that it has different question types. Students have to fill-in charts and not just answer multiple choice questions. Try it out as a center or closure activity.
Try one thing
This list has more ideas than you probably have time when you teach this topic. Don’t think that you have to use them all. Start with just one. Maybe you want to try some technology in your room, or maybe you just want to spice things up with a game. I find that trying something new and different can really get me more excited about what I’m doing which in turn gets the kids excited.
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