Grocery List

Gist: Students find problems that match a list of descriptors you give them.

Why Do It?  Answering questions on a worksheet provides some practice, sure, but drive it deeper by expecting students to analyze their answers and the questions themselves while they move around the room.​



-list of descriptors, mixed up to create multiple versions

NOTE: Lists DO NOT have to include every problem

Set Up:

1. Cut apart the worksheet and post individual questions around the room.

2. Prepare and print multiple versions of the "grocery list." This is a list of descriptors, attributes, etc your students are looking for in the worksheet problems.  For example, "Has a negative answer." "The opposite of a protagonist." "A geographic feature north of Mexico."  "Solved by addition." "Answer is comma splice."

3. Create an answer key for each list indicating which problem(s) work for each item on the list.

To Play:

1. Give each student a grocery list.

2. Send them around the room to look at and solve the problems you've posted.  When they find a problem that matches what they're looking for, they record that problem number next to the item on their grocery list.  NOTE: It is possible that more than one problem works for an item on the grocery list.  That's OK! 

3.  Either collect and grade the lists or have students meet in groups to discuss.  To simplify this process, have students with the same list meet together.  You can label lists as A, B, C, etc or by color.

Caution and Tips:

-Consider a silence rule so students work independently until it's time to meet and discuss.

-Be prepared with something for students who finish early to do or challenge them to find as many problems for each item on their list as possible. 

-Unless you are collecting the lists prior to discussion, this activity will not provide solid data about how individual students are doing on the content.  This activity is effective for practice toward mastery but not as an assessment UNLESS you collect the lists without discussing.  


-Make it competitive by having students find as many problems that match each descriptor as possible.  Deduct points for problems they include that don't match to encourage them to not randomly guess.

-Have students write grocery lists and answer keys and then use those lists for the activity.  They can work in groups to make the list and then challenge another group to complete their list.

-Instead of posting worksheet problems, post student essay answers (numbered for identification purposes).  Make a list of prompts like, "This response includes a clear thesis statement." "Lacks a conclusion." "Includes only one piece of evidence." etc.

-Or post articles on your content topic, make the grocery list a list of questions to answer, and have them walk around to find the answers in the articles.  Or analyze the articles for how effectively they present their arguments, etc.