I saw the AT&T Speed Dating Commercial the other day. Take a look below if you aren’t familiar with it.
I started thinking about how speed dating – using math problems – allows students to give and receive feedback from each other. Not only does this activity employ the strategy of Feedback that Robert Marzano and John Hattie argue has a high effect size (.73), it also gives students an opportunity to work on Math Practice Standard #3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
I found a great 3 minute video (once on the webpage, scroll down to Row Games and Speed Dating) that shows how this activity works in a high school math class, although it could work at any level. While not as entertaining as the AT&T commercial, the video reveals how engaging, efficient, and effective speed dating in math can be.
I found 6 suggestions to ensure success at a speed dating event. I’ve applied these tips to the math classroom.
1) Be prepared. Make the classroom structures and procedures explicit for this activity.
2) Top questions to ask. Make sentence frames available for students to use when they are questioning their partner or defending their work. For example:
- Why did you…
- I knew that…
3) Fun questions to ask. Grow the sentence frames in complexity so that students can see how playground language can grow to academic language. For example:
- I saw that… → I noticed that…
- Here is an example of… → I’ve illustrated…
4) Be confident. This activity is worth the class time. It reinforces procedural skills, math practices, and is an activity that facilitates a research-based strategy.
5) Make introductions. Keep this activity moving. Use a timer. Kids should be working with as many different partners and problems as is reasonably possible.
6) Don’t be a whiner. This goes for both teacher and students. As a teacher, having a positive, encouraging attitude is key to anything we want kids to buy into. The success of this activity does rely on the culture you’ve built in your classroom and the expectations around how students treat each other.
This last tip is mine:
7) Be flexible. Remember: everything may not go perfectly the first time you try this activity. React to the feedback you are getting from the kids as they engage. You may need to change things up on the fly. Go with it.
Let me know how it goes or if I can be an extra body in the classroom while you try it. I look forward to hearing your feedback.