• Teacher Gems

What's my Rule? Math Robot

Updated: Jan 11, 2019


In goes 2 and out comes 14, in goes 3 and out comes 21, in goes 4 and out comes 28. What's my rule? If you said "multiply by 7" you are correct! The good 'ole "in" and "out" math boxes are a great way to challenge students to problem solve. One fun way I introduced this concept with my students was with the What's My Rule? Robot. Here's how it works.


First, you have to give your robot a name:) I called mine Robbie the Robot. Next, explain to your class that you have a special visitor coming to help you teach math today (Note: I taught 4th grade and was a little nervous my student's would think this was cheesy or catch on to it right away but each year my student's loved it!)


Then pull out your robot and begin the activity (you could have fun with it and have it whisper in your ear to tell the class things because it is shy or just simply do the activity with it--they will love it either way). Sneakily pull your cards out and get them ready to "go through the robot" (you may want to practice it a few times first).


Show your students the first card with the number 1 on it and put it into the top slit of the robot (see pic below) and then immediately pull out the number 7 card through the bottom slit of the robot (students cannot see the back of the robot or the slits so they will be amazed when a new number comes out the bottom). Repeat for all the cards in your set. 


I made these cute recording sheets and cards to go along with this activity (which you can find in my TpT store by clicking here). The first two are student recording sheets.

Have students record the "ins" and "outs" on their recording sheet and then see if they can figure out the rule. Do this for each set of cards. 


The third (colored robot above) is a teacher demonstration recording sheet. Laminate this page and using vis-a-vis markers (or dry erase) demonstrate for your students how to record their answers.

If you have younger students you may want to use symbols instead of letters for the rules. For example, if the rule is A x 7 you could make it ★ x 7 so it is less confusing for them. 


Front of Cards

Back of Cards

These are the cards I used to "feed" the robot. There are five card sets with 100 cards total included in this product. The cards can also be used as a math center game. 

The sets include the following rules: Set A: A + 8 Set B: A - 5 Set C: A x 5 Set D: A ÷ 6 Set E: A x 5 + 2 I also included blank cards so you could make your own rules! 

You could make all these cards yourself or save yourself some time and for only $4.50 you can find this product in my store! Click here.




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