Monday, 1 June 2015

Team Quiz for Trigonometry Revision

Two weeks of Trigonometry can cover a lot material, but how much do the students remember?
As high performing year 11 students completing the Maths Methods course (One of Australia's more challenging Mathematics Secondary Curriculum). These students are already quite motivated and engaged in the subject however as the teacher I really need to understand what students are understanding and can apply.
So it is time for a class quiz, but let's make this one fun...

I put the students get into teams of 2-3 students. Each team uses a laptop to log into, where they join my room. I ask that each team include the name of all team members, but this is only for the teacher to know, because teams are allocated a colour, which they will see more of shortly.

Once students have entered a name, they find out their team colour and begin answering questions...

As the students submit their answers, they receive immediate feedback, with the correct answer (and an explanation of the solution if loaded in for that questions).

Perhaps more engaging for the students is the Space Race going on the Big Screen. Every team has a rocket ship (assigned by their colour), starting on the left of the screen and slowly proceeding across to the right. How do they move their ship? Simply by getting the questions correct.

The timing of the questions is up to the students, however they quickly become curious of who is that Teal team that is winning, or Lime team which started slow, but is going faster now!

The students have a range of strategies, noting that in this quiz there are only 20 questions, and 35 minutes to complete it, getting each question correct is perhaps more important than getting them completed quickly.

What is the teacher doing during the frenzy of the quiz? Moving from group to group, I get insight into the problem solving approach of the students. Encouraging all team members to attempt each question, then to compare answers prior to submitting. This allows students to learn from one another, while picking up on errors.

When the timer ends (manually by the teacher) then we can get an immediate insight into the results.

Names are usually shown on the left. They have been hidden for student privacy

As a class we seem to have some misunderstood question 6, so I click on the question to discuss as a class.

I can immediately see that 9 groups got this question correct, so I call on them to explain the correct answer. One group quickly draws up a unit circle to show the angle in relation to Cosine (as the x coordinate), then another group disputes the answer by showing a Cosine wave, showing the value on the y axis.

Seeking teacher mediation, I explain that both approaches are correct and how they reach the same result. The discussion results is numerous 'ahhh's of realization from students, particularly some of the lower performing groups. It seems many understood Sine better than Cosine, which this quiz brought out.

We move onto the application questions, many included images as part of the question. This demonstrated the students needed additional time on problem solving involving various trigonometry rules.

Looking through the questions, (such as question 12) students simply missed the units. However the later questions received lower average (as would be expected as the questions became increasingly complicated.

One group got Question 20 correct (and another got very close), so we worked through the question as a class so we could understand the thought process, involving attributes of pentagon, Cosine Rule & Area of (non-right angled) Triangles.

After the lesson I was also able to check which students have achieved 50% or lower results. I raised my concerns with those students to suggest additional study to ensure they maximize their results. These students appreciate the private communication and consideration from their teacher.  

While setting up this quiz took a little time (mostly extracting good questions from a range of textbooks) having this insight into student's strengths and weaknesses was precisely what I needed to target revision and be confident in proceeding to the next topic. This quiz will now be available for future quizzes (and other teachers can also access the quiz in with SOC:14918462)

I find's Space Race is a fun way to get students actively involved in a quiz, and allows immediate listing of which students can solve which questions. also allows for teacher paced or individual student paced quizzes, with or without immediate student feedback, but Space Race is my personal favorite.

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