How often do we see students rush through their work and not check their answers? Even if it’s a test or a quiz, many students don’t look back. For this reason, I was on the hunt for a good collaborative activity, especially one that would hold my students accountable for their answers. I wanted to a way to show my students that their answers matter and they could have more of an effect than they thought.
A couple years ago, we were in the middle of our multi-step equations unit. I do a lot of activities in my classroom, but I wanted something different. I came up with the following relay:
Here’s how it works:
1) Place students in groups of 4. If you end of with groups of only 3, that’s okay, one student can do two problems.
2) Assign each student a problem number. I usually determine who goes first, then it goes clockwise from there.
3) Place the paper face down on person #1’s desk. Do this for all groups. Explain to the students what happens when you say “Go!”:
Person #1 is to turn the paper over and solve problem #1. Then pass to person #2. Person #2 takes Person #1’s answer and substitutes it into their problem, then solves. Then pass to person #3. Person #3 takes Person #2’s answer and substitutes it into their problem, then solves. Then pass to person #4. Person #4 takes Person #3’s answer and substitutes it into their problem, then solves.
Person #4 brings the paper to me to check all four answers. The first group to get all four right receive a prize (usually homework passes in my classroom).
4) Say “Go!” I recommend holding the answer key so you can quickly check. If they are incorrect, send them back. I usually don’t tell them where the error is, I make them send it back to Person #1, check their work, and keep rotating through.
You’d be surprised how long this can take. The students can get frustrated, but they are also very competitive. They truly see the value in checking over their work. If you haven’t tried a relay yet, I highly recommend it! I have a few in my store you can check out:
All Things Algebra