This is the first of a 5-part series on activities that could be used for review before an exam.
Review Activities To Make Real Students
As a high school student I worked through problems in the textbook to study for my math exams. As a teacher, however, I'm finding that my students don't seem to realize what the test problems will look like even though I tell them exactly what topics will be covered. Here is my solution.
- I put my students in groups of 4 and gave them the task of creating 3 problems that could be on our first exam. Each problem had to have 2 parts and each had to match one of the 3 concepts that were being tested.
- I only allowed the students to use their notes and their homework assignments in order to give them a feel for how notes, homework, and exams were all related. They couldn't use the actual problems from the assignments and examples, but they could emulate them.
- The groups used poster paper to put their problems up around the classroom.
- After we assessed that everything looked okay, I told the students that they now had a good selection of practice questions and instructed them to write them down. We did this in sort of a walk about fashion with each group starting at a different poster and working its way around the room.
- We ran out of time, but my next step was to have each group post the answers to their problems so their classmates would be able to check their work.
This little activity worked out a little better than I expected. Many of my students wanted to just start making up problems that were like those on the homework without regard to whether or not they covered the topics that would be on the test. I discovered that many of my students didn't relate inductive reasoning to the first lesson that we did. My goal was to help my students take the mystery out of what they'd see on the test. I believe that students who learn this test taking skill will have less anxiety and perform better. I guess I'll get to check this little conjecture when I grade their exams later today.