Saturday, 17 August 2013

Scrabble Tiles: The Best Literacy/Numeracy Activity?

I often 'favourite' a lot of tweets I see on my Twitter feed and later revisit them. A lot of the tweets I favourite are just simply pictures to inspire me, have quotes on that I can use or can be put up on display in class. When looking back through my 'favourited' tweets recently I came across one that had tweeted the following picture...

There are plenty of these 'Scrabble' tiles images you can download and print out just by going to Google and doing a quick search.

I've just printed off about 8-9 of these on a full page of A4 so I have plenty to use in class. I've cut them all up, laminated them and they're now ready to use...

Here's how they look. I'm planning on using these in the following ways as short starter activities to do in class. My aim behind these activities is to give students a chance to get their brains thinking mathematically and to also introduce a bit of literacy into my lessons.

I imagine that, for English teachers, getting numeracy into lessons is just as tricky as it is for us Mathematics teachers to get in the literacy element. So hopefully with this task it covers both bases.

Here are the ideas...

For a starter task students would each be given 7-8 of the tiles each and they'd be asked to create a word that could either be linked to the lesson objectives or not. For other subjects that are trying to build in numeracy (Geography, History, Science etc) I feel you'd have to get students to try and link them to that subject. MFL could do the same here but with words in French, German, Spanish etc. For Mathematics however, they can just attempt any word they can think of from their tiles. Now, due to the numbers of each tile available some students may not get a suitable vowel or enough of certain letters, so I'd introduce an option here to work with partners or groups to 'swap' and share tiles as needed.
The idea would then be to try and come up with the highest scoring word possible. For weaker students this can be left by using the 'Scrabble' scores for each letter i.e. for the word 'algebra' they'd get 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 = 10. However to challenge students further...

You can get students to assign values to each letter of the Alphabet according to their position in the alphabet i.e. A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, ..., Z = 26. Then, having formed a suitably correct word, the student would multiply the 'Scrabble' tiles score with the letter's position in the alphabet. i.e. for the 'Scrabble' tile G, for which you get 2 points, and is placed 7th in the alphabet, you'd get a score of 2 x 7 = 14. All letter scores would then be added together to reveal the word's total score.

For example...

Using the word 'algebra'
A = 1 and is 1st letter of the alphabet, score of 1 x 1 = 1
L = 1 and is the 12th letter of the alphabet, score of 1 x 12 = 12
G = 2 and is the 7th letter of the alphabet, score of 2 x 7 = 14
E = 1 and is the 5th letter of the alphabet, score of 1 x 5 = 5
B = 3 and is the 2nd letter of the alphabet, score of 3 x 2 = 6
R = 1 and is the 18th letter of the alphabet, score of 1 x 18 = 18
and finally, A = 1 and is 1st letter of the alphabet, score of 1 x 1 = 1. So, that would give you 1 + 12 + 14 + 5 + 6 + 18 + 1 = 57. A total word score of 57.

Along the same rules you could ask students open questions like:

What is the best tile to choose?
Which is the best vowel to choose?
Would a 5-letter word always score more than a 3-letter word? Why? Why not?

Alternatively, you could get students to, on finding a suitable word, use BIDMAS (and the 'Scrabble' tile scores) to reach a desired number. For example, using the above word 'factor' and trying to reach the target number of, say, 24, you could do:

4 x (1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 1) = 24

Again, you could ask here:

How many possible ways are there of making [24] with your word?
Which of the numbers between [1 and 10] can/can not be achieved with your word?
What's the highest number you can achieve with your word? How can you be sure?

If anybody has any other suggestions on how these could be used then please get in touch at @mrprcollins or by commenting below...I'm now going to check my SPAG!

1 comment:

  1. When I saw your image and thought about your prompt, the idea I had was to show students the values and quantities of each letter and have a structured discussion. E.g. "give me three statements that are true".
    Then, show them another language's letter distribution and ask them for their questions and ideas.

    I think you should avoid the idea of assigning values in this way, "A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, ..., Z = 26.". It could unintentionally reinforce a common student misconception.