Sunday, April 3, 2016

Foam Cubes for Combining Like Terms?

During one of my units, I noticed many of my students struggling with combining like terms, especially the ones that involved negatives.  That afternoon, I started thinking about what I could create that would help keep them engaged and focused.

Rummaging through my supply closet, I found some foam cubes I purchased earlier in the year.  This is what I came up with.

Algebra Dice: Combining Like Terms

It can be used as a whole class review displayed on a screen through projector or during small group instruction.

  Shake up cubes in a container and then dump them out onto the table.

 Line up the terms in any order and allow student partners to discuss what step is next.
 Call on a student to explain or show the class the next step.

 Have students combine like terms at their desk. I allow my students to write on their desk with a dry erase marker.  They become more involved and it makes math fun!

Here is another look at the cubes.  As you can see, I did included both negative and positive terms.

Foam cubes can be used for many different types of stations in many different ways.  Keep checking back for more ideas!

Here are the directions I have on my canister for this activity, as requested.  Of course, you can change the directions to suit your students' needs.

Here is an activity on combining like terms that you can find at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. It includes a Matching Card Set, Student Work Page, "Ticket Out the Door" to check for understanding, a Quiz and Answer Keys for all listed above!

Hope this is helpful!!

Thanks for looking and have a great day!!!


  1. I am going to try this with my students tomorrow! For some reason they have really been struggling with combining like terms so I am hoping this will help them! Thank you for sharing this idea :)

  2. Your welcome! Please let me know how it went! :D

  3. Where did you get the plastic container that holds the dice?

  4. I recycle! LOL This particular one is a Wyler's drink mix container. In the past, I've also used Crystal light containers & pringles chip containers.

    You can read more about it here-->

    I hope this helps! :D

  5. Can you tell me what instructions are on your container and what you wrote on your cubes? I will be starting this next week. Thanks

    1. Sure Avery! I'd be happy to share. However, it will have to wait until Monday since I don't have that set of directions on my home computer. :D

    2. Do you have the list of what you wrote on the of the sides of the cubes?

    3. Sorry no, I don't. I just alternated between coefficients and constants and used one digit numbers.

      For example, I wrote around one cube x, 5, 3x, 2 and then on top 4 and bottom 2x. I continued the process on the other cubes but kept randomizing digits. End result was that each cube had three coefficients and three constants.

      I hope this helps.