Monster Math Function Machine

Oct 7, 2013 | Uncategorized

Today in my first grade classroom I introduced the FUNCTION MACHINE.  My kiddos are loving it!!! The “function machine” is simply a box with pictures that provides a model and format for thinking about rule-based relationships between pairs of numbers.  It is also perfect for providing practice with number patterns and number facts. This activity will work with all grade levels!  You just have to change the rule or missing inputs/outputs to meet your needs.

The function machine “operator” has to be a monster… so I got to wear this COOL monster hat! Of course, I had to talk and GROWL like a monster!!!  Soon…the kids will get to be the monster!
Here’s how it works…..
When you put a number into the machine the monster spits a different number out.  The monster will do the same thing to any number you put in. (You can use candy, stickers, or just note cards – Today, I used smarties!!) For example, if you put two smarties in the machine, 3 will come out! Or, if you put in 4, 5 would come out.  The kids have to determine the rule and find the missing numbers.
When I did this activity with my class today, I drew a function machine on the board as well as an in/out box so that we could easily determine the rule of the function machine.  We had a blast!!!
Here are a few pictures…
We worked as a class on the smart board.
They then got to record their own thinking on their slates.
We then completed these “What’s My Rule?” worksheets.
We will continue to work on “What’s my Rule?” problems throughout the week {Side note – we only go to school three days this week because of fall break…woohoo!!} 
 Last week, we worked like CRAZY on number patterns.  My students learned that they could add
10 to any given number by going down the number grid.  So… we will be completing this sheet tomorrow.

We will soon be working on problems that have a missing “input.”  If you are interested in the printables and worksheets you can find them at my TpT store by clicking here.  However, before making my moster box and worksheets I just used a plain old box… and that worked too!!!


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I’m a mom, wife, first grade teacher, and curriculum designer. I love teaching and I also enjoy creating resources that engage and inspire our little learners. My goal is to save you time while providing researched based, high quality, engaging lessons and activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of ALL students. I hope you’ll stay for a while. I’m so glad you’re here.