Working it Out: Students try the MENSA workout for themselves

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SWBAT write a reflection about IQ and their experiences doing the online MENSA workout

Big Idea

Putting the "I" in try the questions on for size

Warm Up: Latin Roots

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

MENSA Workout

30 minutes

For today's lesson, we traveled to a computer lab so that students could try out an online "workout" that uses IQ-type questions.  As the disclaimer on the page states, this quiz is for "entertainment purposes only," and I am very careful to tell kids that they don't have to share their scores, and they are supposed to have fun exploring the quiz and trying the questions.

However, the kids jump right in and start working on the questions.  Some are very serious and try to really work out every answer.  Others give up on questions after very little effort (sometimes after reading them :)) and just move on.  At the end, the quiz gives them a score, and the kids were not shy about sharing them, no matter how low they were.

The funniest thing about this activity was that the kids were so QUIET and intent on their work.  I happened to be using the computers that are in the middle of our Media Center, and more than one teacher walked through and asked "What are they doing?  They are so quiet!"  [The irony of middle school -- the one time that you don't say a word about working quietly is the time when you can hear a pin drop.  And the assignment that is purely for fun and not for a grade is the one that they toil over.]


Case Study Entry: Students debrief their experiences

10 minutes

To wrap up this activity, I asked students to debrief the experience in their journals.  I instructed them to write a short entry about how they did, how that made them feel, and how well they felt that IQ-type questions measured their abilities.  The video is of two girls talking about the test.  What I love about it is that they are two excellent students, and they laugh about their low scores -- in other words, they clearly do not believe that their intelligence was measured by the test.