Each student gets their own colored pencil and must take turns rotating 1 paper to achieve a multistep task. After each step they rotate the paper. You hold the group accountable for a group grade and you see how they were all participating when they write each of their names in their colored pencil.
The goal here was for students to take a complicated equation and solve it showing all steps using algebra tiles, drawing them, writing the equation, and explaining their steps in words.
I allowed students to choose from 3 equations, all that had an expression in parentheses preceded by a subtraction sign so that they had to use the negative region of the equation mat. With tiles you are "legally" allowed to move tiles from negative to positive region or "flipping the tiles." This makes a connection that you are taking the opposite of each term of tiles in the negative region.
In the example below 3 + 2x - (x-1) becomes 3 + 2x - x + 1.
We also previewed checking their solution by substituting the solution back in to the equation for the variable. I merely asked "how do you know you are right?"
It re-enforces the rules of equality where you can remove or add balanced sets of variables or constants to both sides of an equals sign.