B27 Five out of three

More Teaching Procedures 1st Edition, page 17
January 2012
A recurring feature of PEEL classrooms has been the generation of student questions that provide at least some of the direction for a unit. However, such a list of questions is typically wide ranging and there are often some left over . 5 out of 3 was developed as a way of dealing with these questions at the end of a unit. However, it could equally be used again late in a unit with a set of teacher questions.  The central feature of the procedure is that the students have enough background in a topic to work out for themselves answers to questions not directly dealt with by the work covered to that point.  In other words, the questions must be at least at the Application level of Bloom s taxonomy of the cognitive domain.

The students are organised into small groups and it is important that the groups are of similar ability so peer groups are not appropriate.  Each group gets the same list of six to eight questions.

Each group cuts up the question sheet into individual questions and starts with the question that they feel is the easiest. The group works together to brainstorm the answer to each question, using their books if they wish. When the group has an answer, they write it and their team on the question slip and take it to the teacher. The teacher scores the answer while the students work on the next question and maintains a running score for each team on the board. Each answer is scored out of 3, with a fully correct answer earning 3 out of 3. An answer that goes beyond what has been done in class scores 4 out of 3. At the end of the class, the teacher selects the best answer to each question and upgrades it to 5 out of 3. The 5 out of 3 answers are pasted onto a sheet and copied to provide the notes on the questions for each student. Teams that score 1 or 2 on any question can come and retrieve their slip and have a second attempt.

The procedure involves a (friendly) competition (with perhaps a small prize for the winning team). It can also be regarded as an assignment with each member getting his or her team score. Ian Mitchell, who developed the procedure, reported that a very positive outcome was that every team had a good final score and so all students experienced success.

A variation is described by Darren Mead (Trajan s Column and the 5 from 3 Quiz)  Here the students had spent a number of lessons working relatively autonomously on a science project and Darren did not have a strong sense of the extent to which they had identified and understood the "science".  Accordingly, he set a set of questions that would enable him to find out what had  been learnt and how well and ran it in the way described above.  This was very successful.