Throughout this semester I have struggled to find a good way to review before a test or a final exam. At first I thought team competitions would be fun, but the idea of a winner and a loser wasn’t the most supportive of a classroom of friendly learners so I figured there must be a better way.
Next I tried some games where there is no loser, just many winners and the winners get a small prize. Since there were a lot of winners this worked pretty well to keep the classroom environment positive. However, I felt a few students were enjoying the math for math’s sake but rather just for the prize. This isn’t a big deal, but in addition to this many of the students used strategies to find an answer quickly rather than accurately. I am a little worried that in the long run some of these students might accidentally practice a procedure improperly because of the review game.
Since both those activities were okay, neither was perfect. I decided to try a different type of activity to help students review for their last unit test and final exam. I was hoping to run an activity that allows the community of learners to be stronger, and for everything to be student-centered if possible.
I had the students split into groups of their choosing and each group had to “become and expert” on a specific problem on the review. Groups created posters of their problems and showed exactly how to solve them. They needed to make the posters clear so that anyone in the class could understand it without explanation.
Above are some examples. After groups created their posters they hung them up so that anyone who struggled with a problem could find that problem on a poster and look through the steps to find what they did wrong. This worked decently well if the students were motivated enough to check their work on the posters. However, the community in the classroom was very positive. Groups were working together and everyone felt the need to do a good job since others would be looking at their poster for help.
After groups made their posters to the best of their ability. I did not do this, but I wish I had allowed the entire class walk around in a “gallery walk” and give feedback on other posters. Such as, what could be clearer, or what might look more aesthetically pleasing. Then allow groups to improve their posters based on the feedback and finalize their work so their class can study with or without a teacher to guide them.