Intentionally Make Mistakes as a Learning Tool

Last year when I was teaching area and perimeter, we wrote all over the floor with a dry erase marker to block off shapes.  When I “tested” it on my own, I was able to wipe the marker away with my finger because the ink was still wet. However, after all the students had written all over the floor, I learned that once the ink was dry, YOU CANNOT WIPE IT AWAY with your finger. Oops. I learned from that mistake! We all learn from our mistakes daily!

We learn from our mistakes in math as well. Sometimes I think the best mathematicians are the people who are the very best at analyzing their mistakes.  I’ve noticed for students who struggle, it is very difficult to find their own mistakes.

So I’ve been incorporating a short game called “What’s My Mistake?” each morning during our morning meeting. Here is a photo of the one I had up today:

photo (35)

 

I let them take a long look at it, and then I pick popsicle sticks. Students always have the option to pass if they aren’t sure, but most times they spot my error!

The most important part though, is to be sure that you’ve shared plenty of examples of the right way (sometimes I make a mistake that is actually correct on an anchor chart that is hanging on the wall).  If they haven’t seen many examples of the right way to do it, they won’t be able to spot the mistake.

My students sure to LOVE to prove me wrong!

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2 thoughts on “Intentionally Make Mistakes as a Learning Tool

    • Hi Eva!

      What I do is I teach, teach, teach, a strategy then…when I see mistakes they make I make the same one and put them up on the chalkboard or easel in our morning meeting. It is nicer than pointing out their mistakes (it doesn’t embarrass them), and they are often times more likely to see their when it is my mistake.

      I would say your best examples will come from being responsive to what you see happening in the classroom! 🙂

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