Learning focus: Students must race to correct misconceptions or mistakes in tests.
Benefits: Students work through real mistakes and misconceptions and so identify with the problems, and then work out why they were wrong. Perfect for spicing up test review. Energetic enough to be done at the beginning of a class to get them warmed up. It’s a competition, so students are motivated to participate! Excellent for any subject and level/age.
Timing: 20 – 30 minutes. This could go on longer depending on how many errors you want to review. Can be done at the beginning of a unit to introduce misconceptions and see what students know, or in the middle or end of a unit. Beginning, middle or end of a class.
Equipment: A printed document of errors or misconceptions, scissors/guillotine, blue tack (sticky stuff) or sticky tape to attach the grass skirt to your desk.
Planning time: 5 – 30 minutes. Not much if you have made notes of common misconceptions during classes or while marking an assessment.
- Collect all the errors and misconceptions from a unit/assessment/test (minimum of 5 is probably best, but go as high and long as you need).
- Collate them in a word doc with enough space under each one to be able to cut between them.
- Print one copy per group (you will want students in small groups of 3/4 or maybe even pairs).
- Using a guillotine or scissors, cut between each misconception, leaving a cm still attached to the margin – creating a “grass skirt” (see below, the lines represent where the paper has been cut; ensure you stop after the text).
- Stick one grass skirt for each group horizontally along your desk so the fronds are dangling downwards.
- Students rip the first misconception off the skirt and take it back to their group and must correct it (either on the paper or in their books).
- When they think they are correct, one student from the group queues up to check with the teacher.
- Tell the student “yes” or “no” for their correction.
- If a student gets a “yes” they move on to the next misconception.
- The group which gets through all misconceptions first is the winner.
- Make students queue to check their corrections; if they push in, send them to the back.
- You don’t have to keep going until all groups are finished; you don’t have to stop when the first group is finished. Let it run until most groups have got through most misconceptions. You could have a couple of backup misconceptions to give to any groups who finish much faster than the rest.