Reflection: Checks for Understanding Tricky Triangles - Section 1: Review and Refresh


I check for student understanding using many different methods.  One technique I use is group dialogue and discussion.  I encourage the students to be as specific as possible when they are sharing their thoughts.  If students speak in vague terms, it is natural for teacher to assume they are trying to say something different/ more accurate than they actually are.  

In the triangle review and refresh portion of this lesson, students made some statements that allowed me to recognize and clarify misconceptions.

• "All sides of a triangle add to 180" - I wrote this statement on the board and asked the student if there was something that should be revised.  When she didn't immediately recognize her mistake, I surveyed the class to see how many thought something could be changed.  It was clear that some students knew the word side was used rather than angle, but others did not.  I asked a student to come up and label a triangle to show this is true.  A student came to the board and labeled each side of the triangle 60 degrees, 60 degrees, 60 degrees. Rather than writing the measurements at the corners of the triangle, they were placed on the sides.  This opened a huge conversation about labeling, accuracy, and degrees compared with distance.  The misconception that was shared proved more thorough teaching than I had planned.

• "A triangle has 3 edges and 3 corners". This error in student thinking triggered a discussion about 2-D and 3-D shapes.  Students may compare attributes such as edges with sides.  However, they they are not the same, and I want to help students become more precise in their language.  

Open discussion and dialogue, along with time to review and refresh provide opportunities for me to check student understanding without a formal/written assessment.  At these times I often learn more about the students' understanding than with formal questioning. 

  Beware of student misconceptions
  Checks for Understanding: Beware of student misconceptions
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Tricky Triangles

Unit 5: Shapes & Their Attributes (Geometry)
Lesson 7 of 10

Objective: SWBAT identify, classify, and solve problems involving triangles.

Big Idea: Students apply what they know about attributes of triangles to solving problems.

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