This small-group activity is a fun way to review new skills, or to prep students for the end-of-unit test.
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This active, small-group lesson can be used to review content, concept, or skills. It can also be used as a quiz grade; or you can award groups of students who get all four questions correct 5 bonus points on an upcoming quiz or unit test.
Before the Lesson
Create four questions or problems for students to respond to. Following are a few ideas of how this lesson might be adapted across the curriculum:
Type or write the questions/problems on a sheet of paper. The questions should be clearly numbered 1 to 4. Print out enough questions sheets so you have one for every four students.
Start the lesson by marking an area of the whiteboard or blackboard to create four sections -- one section for each question. Number the sections 1 to 4.
Arrange students into groups of four, with each student seated at a desk. Name the groups, for example Group A, Group B, Group C, and so on. Provide each group with a question sheet. Have one student from each group cut the question sheet into its four questions and distribute one question slip to each student in the group. Provide a set length of time for students to answer their questions. (Time will vary depending on the skill being reviewed.)
When time is up, have students leave the question slips on their desks, stand and rotate clockwise to the next desk in their group, and then solve the problem on that desk. (Or students can pass their question slips clockwise, to the next person in the group.) The solving and shifting continue until all students have answered all four questions.
Note: All the steps done up to this point are done by individual students without collaboration.
Next, students share their answers with the other students in their groups, one question at a time. Did everybody in the group agree on the answer to question 1? If not, the group should come to an agreement about the correct answer to the question. When they have agreed on an answer to question 1, they write on a sticky note the following information:
Then, each group attaches its sticky note to the board in the section numbered 1.
Note: Sticky notes might not stick to a dusty chalkboard. Be sure the board is thoroughly clean.
Students continue the activity in the same way, coming to an agreement about the answers to the other questions and making official their final answer to each question by placing a sticky note on the board next to the appropriate question number.
When all groups have posted sticky-note answers to all four questions, check the answers and assign a group grade. Discuss any errors to be sure students understand the correct responses. The group grade might be used as a quiz grade; or a perfect score on the four questions might earn each student in the group a 5-point bonus on their next quiz or unit test.
The activity is its own assessment, though a follow-up assessment might be administered, in which students work on their own, instead of in groups, to solve four problems or answer four questions.
This activity can be adapted for use in almost every subject and for almost any skill.