What went wrong?: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
Once again I am dipping into the pool of outstanding primary maths resources available on TES for another gem. “What went wrong?” consists of a series of scenarios (presented on small cards for ease of printing) where a classic mistake has been made. For example: Year 6 are doing some quick calculations. Adel has to work out 112 – 99. He knows he can do this mentally by changing 99 to 100 then adjusting. He gets the answer 11. What went wrong? It is the student’s job to spot, explain and correct the mistake. Topics covered include ordering numbers, use of inequality signs, rounding, negative numbers and basic arithmetic.

How can it be used?
I have found these scenarios work well as starters – simply project one on the board, give students a few minutes to ponder it in silence, and then discuss it with their partner. Some of the resulting discussions are superb. Likewise, a few could be placed together as the main part of a lesson, or in preparation for a test. Once students have experience of seeing and explaining errors presented in this form, a brilliant thing to do is to challenge them to create their own. Can they come up with a scenario where a fictional student has made an error, write it down on one piece of paper, and then explain the error on another. Not only does this provide a challenging, worthwhile activity for students, but it also has the potential to create a whole other set of “what went wrong” cards to use with this or other classes. This really is the resource that keeps on giving.

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: What went wrong?
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