I didn’t use Plickers much last school year because I don’t ask a lot of multiple choice type questions in my classes. Most are more open ended to expose depths of student understanding. This school year, I found a way to use Plickers to facilitate group discussions and I am so excited to use them more this year!
While I am effective at supporting small groups working in my classes, I am not always the best at facilitating whole class discussions. I knew I wanted to hear students thoughts and dispel myths on how to learn math early in the school year. I have started this discussion in past years using Bowman Dickson’s survey found here.
Then I saw Julie Reulbach’s recent post on her plans for the first days of school. She mentions using Plickers as a brief survey.
This way after each question I could project the response graph. It was perfect to be able to just show students their peers ideas and allow discussions to happen with little facilitation from me!
For example, when I projected this question, and then the response graph, a student said,
“How can you agree with this? We can always learn more and improve.”
Then students who agreed chimed in citing how their parents can’t do math, so they can’t do math.
To which the students who disagreed argued that you can change what you understand through learning and effort…
I let it continue occasionally asking probing questions. It was interesting to see how dispersed student responses were, and great to have this data to look at later.
I plan to complete this survey again later in the year to see if students move more towards a growth mindset with respect to learning math through the school year.
Another thought I had through this process was how Plickers could be used to facilitate Talking Point discussions too.