What gets kids excited about learning and keeps them engaged in it? It’s the question most teachers think about, talk about, and plan for every day of the school week – and sometimes weekends too!
Let’s face it – most textbooks and workbooks don’t get kids excited or help improve student engagement.
The content and activities can be pretty boring and low level.
So, we get disengaged, off-task students.
It doesn’t mean that we as teachers can’t offer them more engaging, content-rich rigorous tasks that will keep them interested and learning.
We definitely can!
One of the biggest tasks I have found for high student engagement is math error analysis!
Benefits of Error Analysis
Most kids love to find errors and prove anyone wrong, so error analysis gets their attention!
Even better, error analysis in math is considered to be at the analysis level of higher thinking skills.
THAT’S A BIG DEAL.
Because guess what happens when they engage in this level of thinking and learning?
If they can get to this level of rigor – they will understand a math concept better and faster and will retain that learning because they UNDERSTAND it. It’s not a procedure that they follow because you told them to – it’s real understanding.
So how can you include error analysis activities in your math instructional block? You actually only need two things to get started:
Standards-based math problems that include an answer that students
can prove is true or false.
You can gather problems from sources you already have in the classroom – math books, task cards, worksheets, etc. It can be just as simple as using error analysis on a simple equation too. (Think: 25 ÷ 5 = 4) Just take the problems, add an answer, which can be correct or not (it’s good to mix that up a bit). But if you need resources or want activities that you don’t have to search for, my Error Analysis Task Card Sets will do the trick! They include worksheets to draw math models and space to explain their thinking. Each set has 36 task cards and 1-3 worksheets that will get your students thinking conceptually about their math learning. Click here to see all the different options.
Opportunity and time for students to
engage in these tasks
Before I turn my students loose to begin error analysis activities, I explicitly teach it a few time. I want them to get the most benefit from these activities AND I want to use it – for as many standards as possible – all year long. When I give them error analysis tasks, I expect two things: a correct analysis of the error through the use of math models and a written explanation of their thinking. In each math module area, I will model how I want them to complete the task for that standard.
|Multiplication Word Problems Error Analysis|
After I have explicitly taught this, I put it in a center. One of the many things I love about error analysis is that it is highly engaging for students – especially when you present it as a challenge for students.
“I bet you can’t find the errors in these
math word problems”
“Some of these have errors and some don’t – who thinks they can find them?”
“Who wants to be the teacher and find the errors?”
Is error analysis just for the “high” kids? No, it’s for all of your students. Giving our struggling learners challenging work is good for them. They need to know we believe they can achieve it and that we have the same high expectations for all of our students. However, many of your students need scaffolding when learning new math content and they may need it with error analysis too.
Once error analysis becomes a regular part of your math classroom, you can use it for Scoot games, formative assessments, partner work, differentiated assignments, early and fast finishers and endlessly in centers! Your students will be engaged and learning at a higher level than ever before.
Leave a Reply