I want students to understand that a really effective way to study is to look back at the problems that posed the greatest challenges to them and to make sure to learn from their mistakes. This often requires re-working the problem and making sure to be able to thoroughly explain not only how to do the problem, but the big ideas that underpin the problem and the connections to the unit. While students understand this idea in theory, they often avoid undertaking this process at home, which is why it is important to build in this time during class.
In the Math Hospital activity, I give students sample work for three commonly missed problems from the first two unit assessments. I ask students to identify the error(s) that were made, write out a correct solution, and explain either what was wrong in the given work or their correct solution makes sense. When groups finish, they call me over to assess the quality of their work and to give them feedback on their written explanations.
During this time, I make sure to highlight the big math ideas behind each problem as well as the academic and geometry vocabulary I want to see in their writing. I then ask groups to look over their old quizzes and assessments from the first two units and to work through the problems they found challenging. I pass out a colored piece of paper to each group on which the Recorder/Reporter will document (1) the important ideas the group wants to remember in order to make sense of each unit’s big ideas and (2) the lingering questions they need answered.
We end the class with each Recorder/Reporter briefly sharing out at least one important idea and one question from their group. If possible, students from other groups provide assistance with those lingering questions and offer advice and strategies.
I want students to learn from their mistakes in order to review for the midterm, which is why I ask them to make corrections to all unit 1 and 2 assessments, with explanations, just like the math hospital.