How do you use whiteboards?

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How do you use whiteboards?

Do you use whiteboards daily in class?  During lab?  For quick quizzes to get a feel for class understanding (formative assessment)?  Individually among students or in groups?

I've given pre- and post-tests, collected them (unnamed and unerased), categorized response types and reported to the class their progress per category graded.  For a college-level physics class of pre-professionals, students appreciate the low pressure quizzes every once in a while.  This kind of formative assessment demonstrates to students that you really are interested in their learning, too.

Since I don't "mark" the boards for a grade, evaluating them doesn't take very long.  And, they can actually be interesting and fun to assess.  Did I really just say that?

I'll occasionally keep some boards for class discussion the next day.  I don't ridicule responses, but I do point out typical challenges people new to physics face (free body diagrams, for example).  Students like seeing their work shown as examples of "job well done."

So how do you "whiteboard" in your classroom?

20 comments (Add your own)

1. Brian Lamore wrote:
I use whiteboards almost every time we introduce a new topic: the first example problem I do for all to see (on a Smartboard). Then we get the whiteboards out and try doing another example problem together. Finally, students do 2-3 more problems on their own. I can walk around and easily see what/how they are doing.

Whiteboards are also good for games and competitions. Teams use foam dice (from Oriental Traders) for points. Everyone in a group must do the problem and a team does not get points unless all members do the problem on their w/board and all agree on the answer. Other students in the group are quick to help those who don't understand. And if they disagree -- whoa, a serious debate ensues. All just to get a chance to roll a dice! Changing the "roll rules" makes it life or death: double the face value, square the value, negative, odds only double, snake eyes = death roll (lose all points), etc.

If you are doing graphs, kids can sketch pretty easily on w/boards.

Lastly, I use the bigger w/boards (2' square) for students to summarize a lab activity: procedure, data table, graph sketch, conclusion, evaluation. Each group has to present their finding to the rest of the class.

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