Thursday, October 12, 2017

Teach 180: Speed Dating (Days 28)

Note: Although I was to blog each day for my attempt at a Teach 180 blog, I got home on October 18th from visiting Baylor University in Texas at 3 AM and was at school at 7:20 AM.  Sleep trumped blogging last night.  So, this is essentially a blog for Wednesday, October 11th.

Students often learn best when they need to explain ideas to others.  They also learn best when they have the opportunity to struggle with questions themselves.  You get the best when you review with "Speed Dating", which I have used several times to review this year for tests.  On October 11th, I used it in my Probability and Statistics class.  The set-up is to have students sit in two circles facing each other.  (See diagram below.) Initially a student sits across from another person in the class and those two students become experts on the problem or problems they have been assigned.  While students are working on their assigned problems, I circulate around the room and check in on each pair as they finish solving their problem. (In the diagram, you can see that two students - denoted a circle and a square - are assigned the same problem.)

Then, the "dating" begins.  I have the students in the inner circle move one seat to their left.   (See diagram below.) Now each student is seated across from a different student and the students share the problems they worked on with each other. Some students like to work individually on the questions first and then confirm the solution to their problems with their "date".  Others like to chat about the problems they have solved from the beginning.  Each round of sharing lasts about 2-3 minutes and then students in the inner circle move to their left again.  This continues until the students in the inner circle end up back at their original seat.
What if students finish early?  I usually have 2 or 3 questions that aren't assigned to anyone that I encourage students to work on if they finish early.  This keeps everyone engaged, even during the down time.  What if there are an odd number of students?  I partner up with a student and participate in the activity.  It is enjoyable for me, because I also have a few seconds to talk with each student about how their senior year is going so far.

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