Sean’s Story (Elem STEM)

The Project

Students were working on a STEM project that challenged students to help make the best froyo shop possible using data and a newspaper article about the successes and downfall of some previously created stores. Students had to read and interpret data to create a procedure in taking the best from each store and implementing it in the store they want to make. The students also had to multiply and divide decimals to determine price per pound and price per ounce.

The Tools

Google Docs was my go-to tool for these types of projects because of the ability to collaborate so effectively and keep track of the revisions. However, I tried Formative because I have become spoiled for instant results and providing immediate feedback. The students had a PDF for them to read with short answer questions attached to the pages to check for comprehension and check for understanding. With the “Single Question” view I am able to read all the responses as they come in and give the immediate feedback needed to get the most out of the students’ responses. The “show your work” question made the mathematical section more efficient because it allowed me to locate where the mistake was made and correct it. Finally, while all this is happening, I use the summary view over the projector to show students what I have graded and if it was an acceptable response or not. The key to that is making sure the students understand red is a progression towards success and not a measure of one’s intelligence.

Why Giving Immediate Feedback is Key

The feedback that I was able to provide created deeper thinking and better understanding of expectations. With other programs, I would have to provide feedback after they are out of my class and by then they could already be lost in the assignment. Allowing them to read and apply my feedback to their answers allowed them to understand my expectations of an answer. With the questions being open-ended opinion questions this is very beneficial as answers vary and students can only solve based on the single thought they have about that idea. Sending feedback extends the questions and thinking into a more diverse way of thinking rather than a single generic answer.