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## (Min + Max) imize: A Classroom Game for Basic Facts

**this post was elaborated on in the May 2016 issue of The Variable from the SMTS.

**this game is part of a larger collection of classroom games entitled, 16 Boxes: Ten Numeracy Routines for the Classroom available (for free) at this link.

This is a game that was adapted from a colleague in my department. He can’t quite remember where it came from, but knows there was some influence from his undergraduate days. Nonetheless, he reinvented it to play with his Grade 9s, and this post represents yet another reinvention.

The game has a simple mechanism (dice rolling), and endless extensions to elaborate on and play with. These are both keys to a great classroom game (for me anyway).
(Min + Max) imize practices basic operations within the framework of larger, conceptual decision making. While I rarely bring up the probability of the dice rolling, it is obvious that students are making decisions based on the chances of certain rolls being obtained. The idea is to practice basic skills and order of operations in a way that allows students to be active, numerate decision makers.
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## The BEDMAS of Broken Keys

It is the end of my first year of teaching, and I am in a reflective mood. The art of “reflection” was one heavily mocked in my professional college. It seemed as though every assignment in the College of Education involved some kind of reflection. Students of other colleges dismissed the idea as elementary. Do something useful, then reflect on it, then reflect on that reflection, etc. The process began to resemble an infinite sequence. It wasn’t until the reflections were no longer forced, that I found value in the process.

My year began in chaos. I was hired to teach for a division, but not told where to report until 10 PM the night before staff re-gathered across the city. On 10 hours notice, I went to the school and began my career. They had no classes, students, or space for me. I slowly carved out a niche that included all three. Until this process was complete, I co-taught with 4 different teachers. In this hectic time, I had no time for preparation or archiving. Reflecting on that experience rehashed a very valuable activity I co-taught with a colleague in Mathematics 9.