Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Mistake Game in Reverse

As of late, my Chemistry class has been in kind of a whiteboarding rut. We are moving through Stoichiometry, so there is a lot of working of problems which results in a lot of whiteboarding of problems. This combined with the dreary winter weather makes us kind of complacent and we tend to zone out a little bit as our friends are up there going through the motions.

Today we went through eight problems. I noticed that not many of the kids had completed the entire worksheet and I wasn't sure if it was out of boredom or lack of understanding. But even as we were going through the whiteboards, not many of them were even copying down what was being presented.

So when we got to number five and there was a glaring mistake in the balancing of an equation, I didn't say anything. No one noticed. No one asked. So neither did I.

Three problems later, three more mistakes, but not three questions.

So at the end, I had kids get out a piece of paper. I told them that on the eight whiteboards at the front of the room, there were four mistakes. Their quiz was to find and correct these mistakes.

Kids perked up. Kids panicked. Kids got to work and tried to figure out what had gone wrong. The best part was that those kids that had not finished their homework got it out and worked through the problems from the beginning.

This is probably not something I am going to hope for very often, mostly because whiteboarding is supposed to be about checking your thinking against someone else's. I just seemed to luck out in that it came to me on a day where we really needed some variety and a little change of pace.


Unknown said...

I really like what you did here. I am impressed that you held back in correcting their mistakes after each problem. I know that I would feel the need to show and tell them what they did incorrectly. Sometimes students need a little jolt, even if it was panicked, to get their minds back into things.

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