Written by Luke Wilcox published 1 year ago
Answer key might be the wrong term here. Sure, the Math Medic answer keys do provide the correct answers to the questions for a lesson, but they have been carefully designed to do much more than this. They are meant to be the official guide to teaching the lesson, providing specific instructions for what to do and say to make a successful learning experience for your students.
Before we look at the details of the answer key, let's make sure we understand the instructional model first.
Experience First, Formalize Later (EFFL)
A typical Math Medic lesson always has the same four parts: Activity, Debrief Activity, QuickNotes, and Check Your Understanding. Here are the cliff notes:
Activity: Students are in groups of 2 - 4 working collaboratively through the questions in the Activity. The teacher is checking in with groups and using questions, prompts, and cues to get students to refine their communication and understanding. As groups finish the activity, the teacher asks students to go to the whiteboard to write up their answers to the questions.
Debrief Activity: In the whole group setting, the teacher leads a discussion about the student responses to the questions in the activity, often asking students to explain their thinking and reasoning about their answers. The teacher then formalizes the learning by highlighting key concepts and introducing new vocabulary, notation, and formulas.
QuickNotes: The teacher uses direct instruction to summarize the learning from the activity in the QuickNotes box - making direct connections to the learning targets for the lesson.
Check Your Understanding: Students are then asked to apply their learning from the lesson to a new context in the Check Your Understanding (CYU) problem. This can be done individually or in small groups. The CYU is very flexible in it's use, as it can be used as an exit ticket, a homework problem, or a quick review the next day.
How Do I See EFFL in the Answer Key?
You will see EFFL in the answer key like this:
Activity (blue), Debrief Activity (red), QuickNotes (red), Check Your Understanding (blue)
Anything written in blue is something we expect our students to produce. This might not be quite what we expect by the end of the lesson, but provides us with a starting point when we move to formalization.
Anything written in red is an idea added by the teacher - the formalization of the learning that happened during the Activity. Students are expected to add these "notes" to their Activity using a red pen or marker.
What Do Students Write Down For Notes?
By the end of the lesson, students will have written down everything you see on the Math Medic Answer Keys. The most important transition is when students finish the Activity and we move to Debrief Activity. "Students, now is the time for you to put down your pencils and get out your your red Paper Mate flair pens" We give each student a Paper Mate flair pen at the beginning of the school year and tell them they must cherish and protect it with their life. They all think we should be sponsored by Paper Mate (anyone have any leads on this?)
The lessons you see on Math Medic are all of the notes we use with our students. We do not have some secret collection of guided notes.
Do Students Have Access to Answer Keys?
Yes! Any student can create a free Math Medic account to get access to the answer keys. We often send students to the website when they are absent from a lesson or when we don't quite finish the lesson in class. We are comfortable with students having access to these answer keys because we do not think Math Medic lessons should be used as a summative assessment or be used for a grade (unless it's for completion). Our lessons are meant to be the first steps in the formative process of learning new concepts.