What is “Problems around the room?”

Awesome, that’s what!

Instead of having students sit and complete a boring worksheet or text book work independently, I can spend about 15 minutes and make a self paced, differentiated, student directed, self checking, collaborative activity.

I take or generate about 8 problems (with unique answers) that I want students to practice, then I make them big and put 1 per page. I write the answer to each problem on the top of the next page as below:

Then I make a sheet for students to write their work & answers (printed 2 in 1, double sided):

I print the problems on brightly colored cardstock & place them inside of sheet protectors, and tape them all over the room in no particular order, preferably with a whiteboard nearby.  (like I did here)

Students are directed to start at the problems closest to them, so that there are only a few students at each problem. They can discuss, or just listen but they must show work in the 1st box, once they decide what they are doing. Once they find a solution, they find it on the top of their next problem. If they cannot find their solution, then they should go back to the last problem and double check their work.

This gets everyone up and moving at their own pace. I listen and support students who need help. usually there ends up being discussions on the whiteboards where students debate their strategies. They are done when they get back to where they started. Sometimes we run out of time, sometimes I tell students they must do at least x number of problems based on the students, or time, or both. If I notice a large group gathering & getting stuck at one problem, I can quickly learn where they need clarification and support their understanding.

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8 thoughts on “What is “Problems around the room?”

  1. This is AMAZING! I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this idea! ESPECIALLY that the problems are randomly placed. They can’t just move from one to the next! It’s like a choose-you-own-adventure for math!

    If you had the time and inclination, you could have wrong answers lead to easier problems and right ones lead to harder ones!

    This is great!

    • oohh like an adaptive assessment, but low tech! I usually prefer to only have correct option because I like that students can immediately know if they are correct.

      I have created two “levels” of practice, on 2 different colors at the same time.

      • Then maybe instead of right and wrong, you could have “How confident are you of your answer? Very sure: Go to Blue 5. Not very sure: Go to Green 5”

        That way they will still know the answer but get an adaptive model.

        Just a thought. I know I’m WAY too lazy to do something like that. 🙂

  2. This is such a great idea! I do something similar where the students can go in any order to answer a series of questions around the room, but they then check all answers at the end. I love the idea of checking as they go. Great for differentiation.

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