Representations of a Relation Telephone Game

I created this representations of a relation telephone game to give my Algebra 1 students practice switching between the four different representations of a relation: set of ordered pairs, input/output table, coordinate plane, and mapping diagram.

We spent the first twenty minutes of our fifty minute class period completing our representations of a relation foldable.

I was inspired to make this telephone activity by a chemistry tweet.

Have you ever played the game “Telephone?”  One person whispers a message to another person.  That person whispers the message to yet another person.  This continues until the message has been relayed through an entire line of people.  Then, the person at the end shares the message they heard.  This is compared the starting message, and usually quite a few laughs are had.

This works just like that, but we’re dealing with math.

Give each student a sheet of paper, and ask them to accordion fold it on the lines between each section.   This will save a lot of time later and throughout the activity!

Notice that the sheet of paper both begins and ends with a set of ordered pairs.  If all things work as planned, the set of ordered pairs at the top and bottom SHOULD match.  Of course, we know things don’t always work exactly as we intend them to in our classroom.

All students were instructed to write their own set of six ordered pairs in the BOTTOM section of the page.  Just like with our foldable, they needed to make sense that their ordered pairs would fit on the coordinate plane found on the page.

After writing their six ordered pairs, students traded papers with another student.  They took the six ordered pairs written at the bottom and turned them into a table.  Before passing the paper on to the next student, they had to fold up the paper so that the original six ordered pairs were hidden.

The next student to get the paper had to take the horizontal table and turn it into a coordinate plane.  Before passing the paper on to the next student, he/she had to fold up the table to hide it from view.

The next student to get the paper will take the coordinate plane and turn it into a mapping diagram.  Before passing it to the next person, he/she will fold up the paper to hide the mapping diagram from view.

The last person uses the mapping diagram to create a set of ordered pairs.  After these ordered pairs are written, the paper is returned to the original owner.  (We wrote our names next to our original set of ordered pairs to make returning the papers to their owners much easier!)

When students got their papers back, the first thing they had to do was check and see if the set of ordered pairs at the top of the page matched the set of ordered pairs at the bottom of the page.  Many were surprised to see that the order didn’t match, so we had to talk about why that would be the case.

For some students, their ordered pairs matched perfectly.  For others, they didn’t.  This means they had to look through the different representations and figure out where things went wrong.  So many awesome conversations came out of this.  And, I hope this activity drove home the fact that precision is super important when translating from one representation to another!  As my students found out, one tiny mistake can change the entire problem.

I loved the telephone structure of this activity, and I look forward to finding other ways to use this practice structure in class.  It fits in tons of practice and error analysis without seeming like work!

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1. Amy and Bryan says:

Saving this for next year. We already assessed functions. On to solving equations.

2. Mathtechy says:

I'm stealing your foldable and I love the telephone game, so I'm stealing that too! What a great activity! How did you "hide" the previous section – I see glue sticks in the photos, did they glue each section closed?

3. Unknown says:

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4. Amanda Tippetts says:

Hey just wondering if we can get your pdfs a different way? My computer is struggling with the link.

5. Unknown says:

Thank you for your work and great ideas! I love using them in my classroom.

6. Unknown says:

Awesome activities! Thank you!

7. Miss Freeze says:

We did the foldable in class today and it was such a great activity! The kids were so surprised to get to do a "craft." I wish we could have spent more time on it, but it went fabulously anyway. I think we'll try the telephone game tomorrow. Thanks so much for the ideas!!