Adventures in Pedagogy #1 – Feedback Loops

Good day today – three things I want to blog about, which I’ll stretch over the next couple of days.  Today I’m trying a different format – focus on the application of a pedagogy practice I’m developing vis-à-vis a lesson.  The first topic is feedback loops.

Today in my Algebra Foundations class we were reviewing operations with algebraic fractions.  I was playing review bingo, and had made some modifications due to the fact that I couldn’t typset equations onto the bingo cards.  Instead I filled it with letters, and also gave the students a key that looked like this:

I put a problem on the board.  They would work it and look for the result.  They would then mark the corresponding letter on their bingo sheets.

Feedback Loops

What worked really well about this was that they had a set of answers in front of them, so when they got it wrong they would know it because their result wouldn’t show up (or they would have to simplify!).  I heard a lot of analysis statements (‘This is close to mine, except I have different exponents’), and questions for partners (‘how did you get that 3 there?’).  There was a lot less apathy about their results


  • I made a few errors on the sheet, which kept them on their toes.  I’ve fixed them, but I’m not so sure they shouldn’t be left off.
  • This is the second time I’ve played this game.  I handed out the sheets and we were playing in under a minute.


  • This activity did not require them to show work, so we didn’t work on our mathematical writing.
  • Some kids could skirt all the work when they could tell what their answer was probably going to turn out as.  This was helped my the fact that three or four different variable groups were used.  I’m not sure I’d make them all x’s, but I should probably tighten it up a bit.

A final note – this group struggled with factoring special trinomials (think x^2-4), but now they catch them like mosquitoes in a jar.  And due to SBG I can justly compensate their improvement.

BTW, here are documents I used.   Bingo Review CardsBingo Key


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