Mathematical Speed Dating: A Fun Collaborative Structure for Practice

I learned about Speed Dating from Julie Reulbach and it’s been a big hit in my classroom. We only get to do it a few times a year, but kids will often request it.

The gist is that the kids get a new partner for each question and they are responsible for working together and making sure their “date” really understands each solution. This activity gets half the class moving, gives kids lots of opportunities to collaborate, and tickles their fancy: Like Julie Reulbach recommends, emphasizing “Say ‘hello’ to your new date!” and later, “Thank your date!” really entertains them.

The details:

My desks are arranged into groups. I number post-its for half of the kids in my class and stick them on every other desk. I try to make strategic choices about which kids would benefit from moving and which kids would benefit from staying in one place. It looks something like this. (Post-its not to scale.)

I project the problems one at a time. Kids work with their “date” and have a recording sheet to show their solution. We do a quick share out, and then all the kids with a post-it on their desk move to the next #.

We use the Illustrative Mathematics Open Up Resources Curriculum, which I love, but this activity is a great add-on for topics that kids need more practice with to gain mastery.

Below are two of the speed dating activities I’ve created and used with 8th graders. Maybe you will find them useful!

Activity Goal: Build Fluency Graphing Linear Equations

Activity Goal: Practice solving systems of equations by graphing.

Recording Sheet


At this stage, students checked their solution by substituting their solutions for x and y back into each equation.

Always happy to hear from readers!