I remain set to being anti-worksheet and anti-talk all the time this year with emphasis on lots of time spent talking to one another about problems. A simple idea captures all of that very nicely: the poster. We have a well stocked media room with poster board and colored paper and I try to take full advantage. So instead of running off 100 worksheets with 10 problems on there, I create a small set of 5 problems for the group to discuss and present on a poster. Present is used loosely. This is wonderful for Algebra II because that subject focuses on graphing lots and lots of things. It works well for word problems in Pre-Calculus as well when you get to things like right triangle trigonometry and using trig functions inverses. Main idea: think up 5 problems that sum up everything you've done on the subject, give them to your groups, have them divide responsibility as they see fit, and have everyone produce individual work that goes on a poster. My groups are arranged by colors, so each group uses material that matches their color. White Group kind of gets the raw end of this deal.

Smaller version: require each individual to make a drawing of a given problem set. Most recently I did this with systems of inequalities. I refer to this as arts and crafts day and try to do it at least once a six weeks.

Results from Algebra II arts and crafts are on the left, a poster project from Pre-Cal on the right: 

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I had a really nice version of this for systems of equations. There are three methods to solve systems that we've discussed so far: graphing, substitution, and elimination. I gave each group five systems with no indication about the preferred solution method. Though a couple problems were written to steer them in one direction or another. They had to debate what method to use for each problem and then display the work. The only requirement was that each method had to be used at least once. The discussions I overheard during this were fascinating.

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AuthorJonathan Claydon