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Evaluating Expressions Question Stack Activity – Advanced

On Sunday, I shared a question stack I made to review the distributive property using printable business cards. Today, I want to share a different version. I created this question stack for my Algebra 1 classes to review evaluating expressions.

If you’ve ready my blog for awhile and can keep track of my hundreds of posts, you may be thinking that I’ve already shared my evaluating expressions question stack before. Yes, I did share an evaluating expressions question stack last year. Here’s the post.

The questions from last year’s question stack looked like this:

There was nothing wrong with this, but this year I decided I wanted my students to do problems at a bit of a higher level. I spent a substantial amount of time reviewing the order of operations this year, so that allowed me to ask much more difficult evaluating questions than in years past where I skipped order of operations review because I assumed all of my students had already mastered it. Let’s just say that evaluating expressions went a million times better this year than last thanks to the order of operations review even with the harder problems!

Introducing my new and improved and much more difficult question stack!

I printed these question and answer cards on Avery Printable Business Cards that I purchased from NAIER last year.

So, how does a question stack work? Check out this post for the full details, but I’ll go ahead and quickly summarize how it works below!

Each group gets an explanation card with all of the rules.

I printed them on peach paper and laminated them so they are handy every time we do a question stack. And, I do lots of question stacks!

Students lay out all of the cards individually with the answer sides facing up.
These cards form the “answer bank.”

Each group chooses one card to flip over.

They lay this card on top of their laminated question stack template so they don’t get confused.


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

Each group member works out the problem. When the group has decided on an answer, they
check the “answer bank” to see if their answer is there. If it is, they are (most likely) correct. If it isn’t, they have made a mistake. They need to check their work and/or ask for help.

If the answer is in the answer bank, this card is flipped over to reveal a new question. This process repeats until the last question is flipped over. The answer to this card should be at the bottom of the pile if all of the questions have been answered correctly.

Here are some action shots from the day I used this activity in class:

Make Your Own Question Stacks

Want to make your own question stack activity? I have created an easy to use printable question stack template that works perfectly every time. All you have to do is add your own questions!

make your own question stack template.

More Activities for Evaluating Expressions


Friday 20th of October 2017

Hi Sarah! I love this idea. I like doing activities like this with sets of cards but am really struggling with materials management. I teach 10th grade Algebra II and Geometry. Do you have any advice on helping kids to keep work area clean and getting materials ready for the next class after an activity like this? Also what brand are those clear letter size folders that you use? I think that big clear folder like that would help me to get things organized!

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