Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Working with WSQ questions in class

I tried a new activity with Math Analysis today and I think it worked fairly well.  There are definitely some tweaks for next time, but for the first round I'm happy.

Yesterday I had my students go through the whole unit so far (Concepts 1-7) and pick their top 3 questions as a group to put on the whiteboard. I posted those pictures yesterday, but here they are again:

Today for their WSQ chat, instead of doing the normal discussion, I had them pick these questions to answer.  I learned as the class periods went on to make the directions better.

Period 4: "Choose as a group 3 questions to discuss. Write them on your whiteboard and answer them together."

Period 5: "Choose as a group 3 questions you don't know the answer to yet.  Write them on your whiteboard and answer them together."

Period 6: "Each one of you needs to pick one question that you don't know the answer to yet and write it on a whiteboard.  Bring it to your small group (3 students) and you will discuss the answers together."

Hopefully you can see the progression.  What happened in 4th period is the students just picked the first question they saw or the question they thought was the easiest (not realizing the point).  Period 5 did better, but it allowed some students to participate where others just sat back and didn't do much.  Once I got to period 6, I figured out that if everyone had to get up and pick 1, that helped.

So, what I learned from this activity:

1. It allows students to review the whole chapter, reading questions and thinking about if they know them.
2. It provides structured time for students to be able to talk about things from the chapter that they still don't understand. 
3. It opens the doors for great discussion when multiple groups pick the same questions.

There were a couple of questions multiple groups picked throughout the day:
1. What happens if there is a multiplicity of more than 3?
2. How can you graph the imaginary zeroes of a quadratic?

We were able to discuss them, explore on our calculators, talk about what is coming in the future... and then after I explained it to a couple of groups and got the question again from someone else, I told them to go back to that first group to get the answer.

I think I'll add this one to my "do again" list :)


  1. This is my first year flipping-5th grade.... I made a W-S-Q form for my students to use when they respond to their videos but I am finding that a lot of times they write ”I don't have any questions” or their questions are just surface level. what would you suggest to help them improve their questions? I think I remember you posting about that before... Any advice would be helpful.

    1. It's very tough with the younger kids (freshmen for me). I'm focusing on the summaries' right now and still requiring questions, but it's not a point of focus.

      I do have question starters on the right side of my blog (HOT questions - Blooms) that may be of help :)


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