Physics: Circuits Speed Dating
We did some whiteboard speed dating for compound circuit problems. I put different problems at different tables and, compared to when I’ve done all groups working on the same problem, it seemed like students were more willing to try and make sense of what their peers did. One of my favorite side effects is as students get frustrated trying to follow what a classmate did, they get more careful about showing their own work clearly. By the end of the hour, students seemed much more confident with these problems.
Chemistry: Empirical Formulas Speed Dating
This class also did whiteboard speed dating, but with empirical formulas. In my physics classes, the students who are struggling with a concept try to take advantage of this activity by asking a lot of questions when they’re with someone who has it down and working through at a comfortable pace when they’re with someone else who is struggling, which contributes to the value of the activity. In my chemistry class, I saw something very different. When my students struggling with the topic were with a stronger student, they tended to mostly watch what their partner was writing without much interaction or conversation. When they were with another student struggling with the material, both would seem to shut down and wait for the next rotation. I need to keep working with students on what effective collaboration looks like and how their actions in class day-to-day contribute (or not) to their performance on assessments.