Recently, I reached out to the MTBoS looking for fun ideas for practicing solving literal equations. I had searched pretty thoroughly to find any pre-existing activities on the internet, but there wasn’t a lot available. On top of that, what *was* there, required way more pre-existing skills (SO MUCH FACTORING!) than my Algebra 1 students currently had a month and a half into the school year. Unfortunately, the MTBoS and I were pretty stuck.

Farther down in this Twitter conversation, however, it was mentioned that someone recently used BetterLesson’s lesson for teaching literal equations. At that point I had already taught the lesson and most of my students caught onto solving them quite quickly, but I still was looking for a fun way to get a bit more practice in. While exploring what BetterLesson had, I found this worksheet that I adapted into a game. I switched a couple equations, added a few more in, and created what I’m calling a **Connect 4 Activity**. Essentially, it’s BINGO, but 4×4 instead of 5×5.

**How to play: **

- Before game: print enough game cards so each student has one, and cut apart the 16 problems. I fold the problems in half (the problem number to the inside) and put them into a plastic bin. (When printing from your computer, make sure it says “print double sided, flip on long-edge.”)
- To start off the game, each student gets a game board, on which they randomly place the numbers 1-16. Students then pull out a piece of scratch paper, where they will be doing their work.
- The teacher brings the plastic bin containing the 16 equations around the classroom, letting a student volunteer pick a problem at random. (They LOVE getting to pick!)
- The teacher then places the problem under the document camera (or writes it on the chalk/white-board if you’re at a low-tech school) for students to solve.
- After all students have solved the problem, discuss the solution as a class.
- Once
*all*students are*silent*, the problem number is revealed for students to cross off on their game card. (The excitement levels usually explode at this point, hence the moments of silence in between.) - Repeat for as much class time as you have available, or until all 16 problems have been solved.
- Each time a student gets 4 in a row, they bring up their card and their work for inspection, and are allowed to choose a small piece of candy (Jolly Rancher, a Starburst, etc.).

**Reasons why I LOVE this game:**

- It is super easy to set up and is so adaptable for other topics. This has probably been the lowest prep activity I have made for my students, yet it has been one of the most successful.
- Students felt much more confident about their skills and were able to get nearly-instant feedback about how they’re doing.
- Students LOVED it. The class begged me to continue letting them play the game through passing time.

**Download the game here:**

If you want to edit the Word document to better fit the needs of your classroom, you’ll want to download the Riffic font. Otherwise, the PDF is good to go.