Mis-solutions

We’re wrapping up our brief overview of trig identities, and wanted to make sure to get our students talking and collaborating. I’ve seen a number of variations on wrong answers (I would love to source them here, but I don’t remember where I saw them–will update as soon as I find out).

We decided to try it out with angle sum/difference and double angle/half angle identities. After the class moved their desks into groups, each student got a half sheet with the same four problems on it, and a number at the top. Each group had one problem. Solving all 4 problems took for-ev-er, since some of the students don’t like to make mistakes and so are more inclined to stare at a difficult problem than just try something. Once they wrapped that up, they were told they needed to show their solution on a whiteboard but make at least one minor mistake.

Going in, we were a little worried about if they would like it or not. We split the class in half and I took my three groups out in the hall. After the group presented, I gave the audience groups 30 seconds to discuss what questions they could ask. They really were into it. They tried to figure out good questions that weren’t just giving it away, and ended up asking me a bunch of questions about what they should say or not say.

It was awesome. “So, what would you have said? Because when I asked L what his function was, he still didn’t see it. Then what?”

Giving them some insight into how I formulate questions (and give enough guidance without it being too much) was really neat, and most of the class really tried to ask strong questions.

We can’t wait to do it again!

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