Entry ticket

Yesterday my students were introduced to logarithms. Today, to follow up, I used an “entry ticket” requiring students to evaluate basic logarithms. It’s pretty simple and requires no prep. It’s one of the few times during the year it can work because of the minimal computation involved (another one is the unit circle).

Here’s the deal. I stood outside my classroom before class and had students line up single file along the wall. I waited for the late bell to ring and asked the first person in line to evaluate a given logarithm. For example:


If he answers correctly, he’s allowed to enter the classroom. If he doesn’t, then to the back of the line he goes! The person next in line steps up and the process continues until everyone has gained entry. For 27 kids, it took about 20 minutes.

I’ve done this several times and I’m still surprised on how wildly successful, and effective, it is. The kids love it! They always embrace the challenge with smiles and good energy. Even random kids passing by my classroom and other staff members root them on or cackle when students are sent to the back.

Other details:

  • I made up the problems on the spot, so planning was minimal.
  • I used a whiteboard to present the problems.
  • Kids that were absent yesterday had to learn from someone else in line that was present for the lesson. Interdependency!
  • After students were in the classroom, they played log war.