Create a list of questions pertaining to the daily lab material that focus on the concepts of lab exercises to ask students, individually or in groups, to gauge student’s understanding of the material.

  • Create Questions:
    • Make 8-10 questions for each lab.
    • If there are a lot of exercises, try to create a question for each exercise.
    • If certain exercises are extremely important, center a few questions on the focal exercises.
  • Question Goals:
    • Check-in with students to see what their level of understanding of the material is at that moment.
    • Uncover material that needs review:
      • If many students are struggling with a question, it may mean the whole class needs to review the topic being questions.
        • Review that exercise on a white board with the whole class if time permits. Otherwise, review the exercise at the beginning of the next class session.
    • Identify students who could use additional help:
      • Suggest students who frequently struggle with these questions come to office hours for help.
  • Activity:
    • Ask students 3-4 questions from your list, either one-on-one or in a worksheet.
      • Do not give away the answers to the questions.
        • Refer students back to the lab exercise that the question is about and have them review the exercise again.
        • You might want to ask them contextual questions to scaffold them in the right direction without giving away the answer.
    • Have students show you their code, explain what it does, and how their code answers the question you have asked.
    • Warning: Some students will try to rush through the questions without actually engaging the material or reading the instructions.
      • These students often get stumped because they aren’t completing the exercises for understanding.
  • Consider having the questions be due after the class or giving students 1 week to answer the questions to still receive full credit it they were unable to finish in the lab session.
    • The goal is to get students to focus on completing the lab during class.
      • If students don’t finish in class, giving credit for the questions gives them an incentive to finish the lab work outside of class.
    • You don’t want to discourage students from completing lab exercises.
      • Give students the option of answering lab questions late (i.e., past the 1 week deadline mentioned above) to receive partial credit.
        • Giving students an ultimatum like no late credit gives students who didn’t finish in time no incentive to keep working.
      • When students don’t complete the work, they won’t learn the material.

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External Source

Tip-A-Thon with Lauren Mock and Michael Ball.