Today’s lesson was a review for the assessment the students will be taking next week. Rather than having them fill out a worksheet, we used personal response systems, or clickers. Each student answers individually and then they are able to see how a graph of everyone’s response. Because it was a review lesson, I wrote the questions ahead of time. I took the system to school the week before to work through any technology bugs. Of course, it worked just fine that day, but I had a little trouble with the first class. After a bumpy start, we were off and running. I started the questions with a question about what day it was. I thought this would be a good way for the students to make sure their clicker was registering with the receiver and it was a nice, easy question they wouldn’t have to think about too much. As I expected, we did not get a 100% response that the day of the week was Thursday. The students thought this was pretty funny, although a few did seem concerned that their classmates might not actually know the day of the week. They had about 90 seconds to answer most of the questions, although I did give them longer on some of the more difficult questions. If the response graph showed there was a split between responses then I had them discuss amongst their table. Each time they discussed I gave them 30-60 seconds and told them they should be talking about why their answer was the correct answer. This worked quite well and it was great to hear them reasoning it out. After the brief discussion, they voted again. They did move towards the correct answer most of the time, so it seemed that the group discussions worked well. After the students voted the second time, I asked for someone who had answered correctly to volunteer to explain his or her answer to the class.
I feel like this activity worked really well. Nearly all of the students were engaged. I would say all, but two or three would press their clicker button and then put their head back down. I also had one class that was missing one or two responses to every question. The other students in that class did get really into it and would start counting down with the timer as they asked, “Who hasn’t answered yet?!” Most of the time they did a good job keeping their answer to themselves until after everyone had answered. A few students were disappointed that they didn’t get to see what everyone answered, but I think most appreciated the ability to answer anonymously. I really liked the lesson because we were able to determine which concepts were giving them difficulty without requiring a lot of writing. It was also great to see (nearly) everyone so engaged.