May 14, 2014

Solve 'n Switch - Task Card Partner Fun!

Fun Freebie to Use with Math Task Cards!

Cooperative learning activities are often designed for teams of four students. However, sometimes a team is just too big, especially in math. Sometimes the perfect number of students for a practice activity is just two. Partners tend to cooperate more and argue less, and kids are usually more actively engaged when working with a partner as opposed to a large team.

With that in mind, I developed a new cooperative learning partner activity that I've named Solve 'n Switch. You can download it for free from my Math Stations page on Teaching Resources. Just add task cards that are appropriate for your unit of study, and you'll have an engaging and fun review activity!

In a nutshell, Solve 'n Switch includes these basic steps:
  1. Each partner takes a task card from the top of the deck.
  2. Simultaneously, they each solve the problem on their own card. 
  3. Next, they switch task cards and solve the new problem.
  4. Finally, they share, check, and discuss their answers. 
  5. They repeat the steps with two new cards.
The free Solve 'n Switch packet includes three sets of directions so that you can modify it as needed. This activity is intended for practice and is not meant to be graded. After students play Solve ’n Switch, you can follow up with an independent assignment or quiz for assessment. I would not recommend allowing students to choose their own partners for this activity. Instead, I would plan out the partners in advance and pair students of similar abilities. If your class is set up in cooperative learning teams, you can split each team of four in half or pair students with someone from an entirely different team. You might even want to differentiate the activity by providing different sets of tasks cards for each pair according to their needs.

Where to Find Task Cards
If you need task cards for this activity, visit my Task Cards Pinterest Board. You'll find links to sets of task cards as well as games that include task cards that would work well with Solve 'n Switch. You'll also find posts with information about organizing and storing task cards.

What I love about Solve 'n Switch is that it's so versatile. You can use it in math centers, small groups, or even in a whole group setting with students divided into pairs. All you really need is a set of task cards and either dry erase boards and markers or the recording pages in the packet. Have fun with this!


  1. I'm looking forward to trying this out! Since you asked for some feedback: One thing I would change, personally, is the directions for them to erase and correct their incorrect answers (on the written response version). If I'm going to actually collect it (rather than having them do on whiteboards) then I might want to see where they went wrong, types of errors, etc., I'd prefer to see the original (incorrect) answer and also the new revised answer. Just a thought off the top of my head

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about going back and adding this to the directions, but I decided that it's just something that a teacher can tell the class if they don't want the students to erase their original problems. It's so difficult to keep the directions simple yet make sure they include everything that's important!

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