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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.
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.”
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.
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.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.
I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.
I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The answer to this card should be at the bottom of the pile if all of the questions have been answered correctly.
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.
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.
My students prefer to show work out their problems on individual dry erase boards.
Since the activity is self-checking, I can easily circulate the room and help the students who need me the most.
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.
Free Download of Average Rate of Change Question Stack Activity
Average Rate of Change Question Stack Activity (PDF) (381 downloads)
Average Rate of Change Question Stack Activity (WORD) (254 downloads)
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!
More Question Stack Activities
- Compound Inequalities Question Stack Activity
- Make Your Own Question Stack Template
- Order of Operations Question Stack Activity
- Evaluating Expressions Question Stack Activity – Advanced
- Distributive Property Question Stack Activity
- Question Stack Explanation Card
- Factoring Trinomials with GCFs Question Stack Activity
- Rationalizing the Denominator Question Stack Activity
- Adding and Subtracting Polynomials in Function Notation Question Stack Activity
- Operations with Radicals Question Stack Activity
- Evaluating Expressions Question Stack Activity – Basic
- Rational Expressions Question Stack Activity