Sunday, March 16, 2008

Remembering the Buzz

I had completely forgotten about an easy game that I used to play with my class. Recently, after a couple of years without play, I recalled the game and started playing it again during morning meetings. You know that you have found a good game to play when the class asks to play it and that is what is happening in my room. The game is called "Buzz" and it only takes a few minutes to play a round. It works like this. The class is sitting in a circle. I announce a number that the class cannot say-let's use 9-and they have to say the word "Buzz" instead of anything to do with the number 9. As we go around the room counting to 100, no one may say the number nine (they can't say 9, 19, and up to 91 because these number contain a 9 in them. They may also not say a multiple of 9 such as 9, 18, 27, and up to 99. After a couple of days I told them that they could not say numbers whose digits equaled 9. They would say Buzz instead of 45 because 4 plus 5 equals 9.

Part of game may sound like this...
Buzz (3+6=9)
Buzz (cannot say the 9 in 39)
Buzz (45 is a multiple of 9; also 4+5+9)
Buzz (cannot say the 9 in 49)
and so on up to 100.

It gets fun when they hit 88, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz...Buzz, 100 (can't say the 9 in ninety something) Try to keep track as they go around in a circle!

I give the kids time to think if they need it and go back a few people and try again is someone didn't quite get one correct. This way a few kids are thinking if they got their number right or wrong because they don't know who made the mistake. Sometimes I offer clues to students who need them. I know that some teachers play the game as an elimination game and point to students randomly instead of going around in a circle but for my class I like to keep everyone involved.

I also do a mini-lesson before starting the game. I may go over the multiples of 9 up to 81 and then help them rediscover one of the many 9 patterns. I also may go over the multiples of numbers greater than the ones they are familiar with and teach them mental math strategies to help them find a multiple. So when going over 9 for the first time all of the multiples may have been written on the board before beginning the game and the class is more attentive because it may help them when playing. I do erase all clues before game play though.

Last week we reviewed square numbers and used them in a game of Buzz. You could do the same for prime numbers if you wanted. I do like to the students to tell me why the buzzed a number and other than that we have a lot of fun with the game. It is great math and thinking practice and it helps the class with concentration skills as well as reinforcing the need to pay attention. If you haven't tried Buzz with your class yet, set aside a few minutes and let them have some fun while doing math. It sure beats giving them a basic facts worksheet!

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