This is the last post of this series on exam prep activities.
Review Activities to Make Real Students
Predicting Exam Questions
Expert Study Teams
Problem Trees: A Graphic Organizer
I was originally hoping that more of my colleagues would comment on this blog with some of the review activities that they use, but alas there is only one. Thanks to Tracy S for her suggestion! She has her students create 3 x 5 cards for use on each exam. She checks for the cards a few days before the exam and gives the students "study points" for completing them. I may have to steal this one for some of our more vocab/theorem dense chapters in geometry.
We did have a conversation the other day at lunch though. What follows are some of the things other teachers in my department do with their students to review before an exam. These are more game-like however.
- Trash Can Basketball is a favorite. Divide the students into groups and give each student a whiteboard, dry-erase marker, and an eraser. Each student (aka player) writes his group number and player number on his board. Then post a problem for the class to do. Each student does the problem on his whiteboard and raises the board when finished. Pick one of the player numbers at random and check each group for the answer. If the player has the correct answer he gets to shoot. Have all of the shooters attempt their shots and record the points. Points are only scored if the player gets the correct answer and makes the shot. Thanks to MW for this idea! I tried it for the first time last week. Like MW, I created two types of questions, 2-pointers and 3-pointers.
- I've used the game board for Trivia for Dummies to run a review called Math Trivia for Smarties. I combine the board and game pieces with a powerpoint presentation that displays the problems. I divide the students into teams and each player takes a turn rolling the dice when it's his team's turn. This seems to keep the students' attention for the entire hour because it takes that long for someone to get their piece all the way around the board. To win, they have to land on the last spot with an exact roll and get the question correct.
- BI created a game on his SmartBoard with balloons that pop when you touch them. Again, the students are divided into teams. When a student gets the answer to a review question correct he gets to throw a rubber ball at a balloon on the Board. When the balloon pops it reveals the number of points the team gets. Way to combine math and PE in this era of budget cuts, BI!
Students can get really competitive. Some students get a little impatient with their classmates, but generally most are willing to help their teammates learn the material. I'm sure these games are just a drop in the bucket that contains the plethora of activities one could use to help students review before a test. I like the idea of balancing games with learning activities that help us develop the "real" student. That is, a teen who values the art of preparing for exams. In the land of Perfect they would do this automatically. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a long list of standards leaves teachers with little time for the extras that are needed to ready our young people for life post secondary.