Math Hospital

The Description:

Math Hospital is an activity I try to do every other chapter.  I was given to me by my old district instructional coach.  He had given me a two page handout, but I have since lost it, and I don’t have a digital copy.   Here’s how it goes:

– The day before I give the students a problem to do on an exit ticket.  Then I look through those tickets for a common mistake, and scan that students work into my slides (student names redacted).

– The Initial slide for Math Hospital is always a reminder of the theme of Math Hospital – failure is helpful and not shameful.  I took that theme from a Dan Meyer post you can find here.  This is where I remind students that getting things wrong is a great opportunity to learn.

– Each student gets one exit ticket to do their work on.

– The 1st part of Math Hospital is called “Reading” and is simply where I ask a couple students to read the problem out loud.  It’s good that the class hears how other people interpret math language.

– The 2nd part is where we talk about things we like about the problem.  Common answers are asthetic things  – equal signs lined up, etc.  I tell the students here that “you have been in math for 10 years, you should develop a taste about what you think is good or not good.  Imagine if you were painting for 10 years, you would have an opinion about what makes good art”.  I have them all write down one thing that they like.

– The 3rd part is where we talk about things that are correct.  This is where I always say “remember, in every wrong answer, there is always something right about it”.  I have them all write down one thing that was correct about the problem.

– The 4th part is where we discuss what went wrong, and what corrections need to be made.  I have them all write down one thing that was wrong about the problem.

– The last part is where we discuss key points.  “What can we take from this problem, that is going to help us when we take the test?”.  I have them all write down one key point.

– After the Math Hospital is finished, I have the students work a similar problem to what they just analyzed.  I have them do it on the back of the exit ticket.

–   Lastly I tell them that if they are still confused then they might want to consult another physician.  In this case the other physician is Salman Khan,  and I show a slide that highlights the exact videos on Khan Academy that cover the topic we were discussing.

Here is the handout that I give each student the first time we do the Math Hospital.  It is basically the same as what my instructional coach had given me, but since I did not have it digital, I recreated it.

The Advice:

– I recommend repeating the purpose of Math Hospital everytime you do it.  I always go back to the theme “failure is helpful and not shameful” and I always during the second round I say “you’ve all done this problem, what about this work could you say ‘yeah I appreciate that’, or ‘I would not have thought of that'”.

– This is really meant to be a 15 minute activity.  Quick error analysis.

The Goods:

Here’s the .pdf –  Math Hospital

Update 1:

I remixed this a little bit, that post can be see here.  I now give each student a copy of the patient so they can circle and point to things that are right or wrong, that they like or dislike.  If I do this at the end of the class, I can now say “make sure this patient is healthy by tomorrow” and use it as a homework problem.


4 responses to “Math Hospital

  1. Pingback: Math Hospital Remix | mrmillermath

  2. First time stopping by and I am adding you to my Must Reads! What sound advice! A do now! Wonderful, can’t wait for my students to make a mistake (ha-ha). Especially like “Failiure is helpful,” and I love the title: Math Hospital.
    Clever. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. | Constructing Math

  4. Pingback: Math Hospital v3 | mrmillermath

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