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Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

I created this average rate of change activity for my pre-calculus classes to work through recently. Question stacks are one of my favorite self-checking activities for the math classroom.

average rate of change activity

Years ago when I taught mainly Algebra 1, I created what felt like a million different question stacks. When I switched to teaching higher level math classes several years ago, I took a break from question stacks.

Then, the pandemic happened which meant I wasn’t really creating any hands-on activities at all. When I made this average rate of change activity recently, I realized that it was actually my first question stack activity since 2017!

My students really enjoyed working through this activity, and the quiz scores for this topic were much higher than I expected. So, I will definitely be making more question stack activities going forward!

How does a Question Stack Work?

Students lay out all of the question stack cards individually with the answer sides facing up. These cards form the “answer bank.”

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

The other side of the question stack cards features 10 questions.

For this specific question stack, I have a mixture of three different types of average rate of change questions including finding average rate of change from a graph, finding average rate of change from a table, and finding average rate of change from an equation in function notation.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

These average rate of change questions were inspired by Bryan Passwater.

These are NOT flashcards. The question on the front of a card DOES NOT MATCH the answer on the back of the card.

Students choose one card to flip over. I often have them lay this card on top of their laminated question stack template so they don’t get confused. I created a laminated set of question stack instructions to use with my own students to walk them through the process of solving a question stack activity.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

Students work out the problem on the card they have just flipped over. When they have decided on an answer, they check the “answer bank” to see if their answer is there.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

If their answer is in the answer bank, they are (most likely) correct. If it isn’t, they know that they have made a mistake. They need to check their work and/or ask for help.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

If the answer is in the answer bank, this card is flipped over to reveal a new question. This process repeats until the last question is flipped over.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

The answer to this card should be at the bottom of the pile if all of the questions have been answered correctly.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

As students progress through the activity, the answer bank shrinks with each question solved. I find that my students’ confidence grows as the answer bank shrinks.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

The question that ends up on the very top of the question stack will match the answer at the very bottom of the question stack.

Question Stack Activity in Action

I prefer to have students work on question stack activities in pairs. I do groups of 3 only as a last resort.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

My students prefer to show work out their problems on individual dry erase boards.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

Since the activity is self-checking, I can easily circulate the room and help the students who need me the most.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

I store my question stacks in plastic storage pockets in a filing cabinet. I have a different filing cabinet drawer for each prep where I keep the activities I have created for that course.

One of these days, I should make a video or blog post about how I organize all of my math activities since I get asked about it so often.

Average Rate of Change Self-Checking Question Stack Activity

Make Your Own Question Stacks

Want to make your own question stack activity? I have created an easy to use printable question stack template that works perfectly every time. All you have to do is add your own questions!