July Blogging Challenge # 2 + Factoring The Wrong Way

Alright…another blog post! At some point I have other things I do want to blog about but since I am teaching summer school right now, the activities that I am doing in class make most sense right this moment in time (and my brain is a little tired to be creating something insightful).

We have been practicing factoring and today I gave the students mini whiteboards. I threw a trinomial at them to factor and told them to do it wrong. I love the puzzled looks when I first tell them this. Eventually I convince them that it will be fun so try it! They do and then they trade with a partner to see if they can find the mistake. We talked about how we all make mistakes and now that we know how to factor, trying to make a mistake means you have to think about how to do it correctly first. This activated all of those higher order thinking skills that they have and they had lots of fun. Then, I just made up problems on other stuff we have studied for the last 4 weeks and had them do those wrong as well. Again, trade with a partner and try to figure out their errors. I even grabbed a few white boards that I really liked and brought them to the front of the room to talk about.

I sometimes forget to do things like this but I think that after students have studied a topic, this can bring their understanding to a stronger level. I have had a lot of success with things like this and looking for errors. (It also helps that I probably make a mistake on something weekly in class and students point it out and I praise them for it). Try it out for yourself and see what you think! You can easily do this on paper or something too but I think the mini whiteboards encourage that risk-taking since you can erase and change something easily and since it is not on paper students think it is different and view it differently than a worksheet.

2 posts before this I talked about how I had students grade my quiz and that falls under this same concept. You should check that out if you like these types of things!

Also, comment below or let me know on twitter if you are doing this challenge so I can read your blog! I can’t promise I will comment every single time (nor would I expect you to) but I bet I would learn a lot from you (and hopefully you learn something from me!)


5 thoughts on “July Blogging Challenge # 2 + Factoring The Wrong Way

  1. I love doing things like this too… Thinking about how to do something wrong takes WAY more brain power than just doing it right in the first place. Especially the more procedural topics.

    Thanks for sharing… I’m doing the #julychallenge too. But don’t judge my blog yet… Not that comfortable putting myself out there yet.


  2. I love this idea! I can imagine the looks you received, but what a great way to get them thinking about the math involved. I am also doing the #Julychallenge, geometrywiz.wordpress.com. I appreciate any comments you may have, but don’t worry if you don’t have any, I just appreciate that you attempt to read what I’m thinking.

    Thanks for joining in.

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