In my first post of this 5-part series, I talked about using Expert Groups as a cooperative learning strategy in your classroom. Today I am going to outline the use of what I have termed "Q&A Match-Up." I first saw this strategy used by one of my student teachers as a review activity before a science unit test; my students and I LOVED it! Since then I have used it countless times with just about any subject and/or topic.
How It Works:
- Create a set of questions and answers based on the topic your class is studying. Each question will be placed on a separate card and each answer will be placed on a separate card. I made all of my answer cards pink and all of my question cards green; this makes it easier for students to "match-up" during the activity. If you are covering a vast topic (for instance a chapter in a social studies or science text) then you could easily make enough questions and answers cards so that each student has a unique card. However, you can also make several copies of just a few questions and answers so that some students have duplicate cards; this works best when your topic is more focused (e.g. a lesson within a chapter).
- Randomly distribute the question and answer cards to your students. Give them a few minutes to read their cards and think about what might be the corresponding answer or question that would match their assigned card.
- Then allow the students to "mingle" as they try to "match-up" with their correct question or answer.
- Once students start matching up, I have them stand shoulder-to-sholder with their corresponding card/partner along the perimeter of the room. Unmatched students are still floating around the center looking for their counterpart.
- Once all students have been matched up, each student can read his/her question and matching answer to the group. If the group feels that the match is incorrect, then the students can do a little reshuffling to find a better fit.
Why I Love This:
- Versatility: This strategy can be used with almost all content and with varying size classrooms. For some lessons, I would make 17 different question cards and 17 matching answers cards so that each of my 34 students had their very own card. However, if I taught a lesson that perhaps only had 4-5 worthwhile questions, I just made duplicate cards for the students and the activity was just as successful.
- Engagement: Students love mystery and games and this activity incorporates both elements.
- Discussion Opportunity: When the matched-up students present to the group at the end it creates a perfect opportunity for discussion. Did the question and answer match? How do you know? Who can elaborate? Why are X and Y a better match? etc.
- Built in Review: This strategy is a great way to review for a test or reinforce a lesson that you just taught.
- Longevity: Once you have made a set of these cards, you can use them for years to come, adding and changing certain questions/answers as you see fit.
I hope you find this strategy as engaging and meaningful in your classroom as I do in mine. If you give it a try, please let me know how it went!