Physics Day 4: Mistake Game Mistakes

I tried doing Kelly’s Mistake Game when whiteboarding problems today, but I made the mistake of not re-reading Kelly’s post before trying it. (I actually decided to do it on the fly when I realized that we had extra time in class)

Overall, students thought it was fun, but here are some mistakes I made:

  1. I had all groups whiteboard the same (multipart) problem. This meant that several groups chose the same mistake, and they didn’t have to pay much attention to the presenting group to catch the mistake. Some groups changed their mistake when they saw another group already used it, so they changed it to something trivial
  2. We didn’t spend enough time discussing what “good mistakes” are
  3. My multipart problem was too long so there was a lot of text on each whiteboard – very hard to look at and understand.
  4. I tried a second round where 3 groups got problem A and 2 groups got problem B (to try to fix my mistake #1). These were brand new problems (the class hadn’t been working on them in the packet), so it was hard for “problem A” groups to follow the “problem B” groups’ presentations.

In the second round, I (secretly) told some groups to make a mistake and others to not make a mistake. (I told the class I was doing this), which made it a little more interesting. Next time, I will have each group whiteboard a different problem, and keep them short enough (but still conceptually complicated) that there’s not so much to write on the board.

I’ll also try using problems that everyone has worked at in their packet, although I’m curious about the benefits and limitations of doing this vs. having each group present a “brand new” problem. Anyone tried it both ways and have an opinion on this?


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