This summer I attended a Math Literacy Camp put on by a local University. One of the strategies we learned about was called a "Graffiti Board". Essentially, it's a piece of butcher paper. But what it really is- is a great assessment tool!
What I love about this strategy is that it is so versatile. You can use it with every subject!!!
I started off teaching about simple machines today. I wanted to gauge what my students already knew. I wrote the words "pulley, wheel & axel, gears, inclined plane, lever" each on a separate sheet of paper. I counted my students off 1-4 into 5 groups. Then I handed them each 2 markers and told them to draw or write anything they knew about the topic. I set a huge 2 minute timer on the projector from this online clock site (see more in this post). When the timer when off, they rotated in a circular pattern.
Talk about informative!!!! For inclined planes.... they ALL drew AIRplanes...! haha Sweet babies!
So then I got out the hands-on kits to let them experiment with each simple machine. I heard things like "Oh, that's like a seesaw!". They made many connections to real-life objects.
They were also able to describe what the simple machine does. (Example: "If you raise the inclined plane, the car goes down faster").
We did a second round of graffiti boards to record their new knowledge.
This was a very simple and fast way for me to assess prior knowledge, allow group collaboration and discovery, and clear up any misconceptions!
We did two smaller graffiti boards for prior knowledge/what they discovered. However, when I originally learned about this strategy, they used ONE board. The students would all record their thoughts, and any knowledge that was correct was circled.
They were working so hard that I forgot to tell them to pack up! Time flew by during this hands-on fun activity.
Again, these can be adapted for any subject. I particularly enjoy using these to study math and science academic vocabulary.
I will try to post pictures of our finished boards tomorrow.
Want even more fun ideas to teach simple machines? Enter the giveaway to win my Angry Science Birds Thematic Unit!
What strategies are you using to engage your students?