I’m a big fan of Michael Pershan’s project Math Mistakes. If you’ve never checked it out, it’s worth exploring. And while I’m meddling with your life, here’s a tip for your entire department: Start each meeting by spending five minutes exploring one of the mistakes posted on Michael’s site. On a rotating basis, have one member of the department share a “provocative” math mistake from the blog (or maybe even one from his or her own classroom). And once duly provoked… Cue the discussion!
I included the following uninspiring question on a recent assessment:
The first two assessments I graded included the following responses:
Student 2 ((My apologies for the retype. I added some feedback before snapping a photo.))
So here’s my question (er, set of questions) for you:
- Are these mistakes equally egregious?
- What misconceptions are contained in the first mistake? How would you address them?
- What misconception are contained in the second mistake? How would you address them?
- Would you grant any credit for either response, and why?