Spot the Mistake

A great way to get students thinking about mistakes and misconceptions and hence deepen their understanding of topics is to have them mark the work of others. There are some great resources that will allow your students to do just that.

Particularly excellent resources come from Andy Lutwyche, look at his excellent Erica’s Errors series for Spot the Mistake activities. See also, on TES, Andy’s Clumsy Clive series for GCSE (age 14-16) students. For GCSE L2 Further Maths Andy has created his Careless Casey series.

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Andy Lutwyche

See also Andy’s Spot the Mistakes resources.

From Jo Morgan, this resource has sets of 10 questions for Higher tier and 10 questions for Foundation tier AQA Legacy papers. Only one question in each set has been answered correctly. Pupils must identify and correct the errors.

Try these Tick or Trash sets of questions where students mark the answers provided by two different students, correcting any mistakes they find. Expanding brackets from Interactive Maths is illustrated.

Edexcel’s A Level Teaching and Learning Materials, a library of resources offer excellent support for teachers. The exemplar materials collection with examiner comments provides particularly valuable resources. Real student responses are shown together with commentary showing how the examining team apply the mark schemes. The commentary includes always useful notes on common errors. These could be used in class and students asked to find errors.

Edexcel Model Answers example

Like terms starter
Craig Barton’s lovely little starter on Algebraic Misconceptions (this one is truly tried and tested – I used it as a starter for a lesson observation and followed it up with a class discussion on what advice students would give to students making the kind of errors here – it went down rather well with the observers!)

AlgebraByExample is a set of Algebra 1 assignments that incorporate worked examples and prompt students to analyze and explain. These resources are excellent for discussing common misconceptions.

SERP - Algebra by Example

Choose Download Free Materials to access the materials, you can sign up to access these.
Also from Educator Resources on the home age, note Math by Example also.

From Damian Watson on TES:

Transformations AfL Spot the Mistakes

Enlargement Spot the Mistake Booklet

Fractions AfL Plenary Spot the Mistake Booklet 

Stoke Maths

Stoke Maths MEP Starters are very attractively presented high-quality resources. Looking at the Spot the Mistake PowerPoints for example, as you can see in the image below there are a great collection of questions that include full answers. It’s great to see Mechanics and Statistics collections. The revision question starters provide very useful question sets.

From Ben Bently, comes a collection of low stakes quizzes using questions from Diagnostic questions.

On the subject of mistakes, the Classic Mistakes website has a gallery of posters of classic errors made in Mathematics. These could be a prompt for a useful discussion starter activity. Note that an audio file is also available for each poster.

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