TES Maths Resource of the Week
What is it?
Secret questions essentially take the idea of exit tickets and turn them on their head. So, instead of having to solve a particular problem at the end of a lesson, pupils are given one at the start and tasked to complete it alongside their classwork. The advantage of this approach is that questions can be less structured and more challenging. Although, it does become more important to factor in some meaningful assessment time at the end of the lesson.
This concept lends itself particularly well to demanding topics such as circle theorems - as can be seen in this resource - not least because the new GCSE requires students be able to prove why the theorems work. They will certainly benefit from having the extra time to discuss and consider these problems before handing them back.
How can it be used?
The format of the activity is clearly explained by the author. But it's worth ensuring that pupils aren't spending all of their time on the secret question to the detriment of their other work. This should balance out as they get the hang of it.
I'm also a big fan of the discrete nature of these types of questions. I've found that students are far more likely to be honest with their attempts and to communicate any weaknesses when given the chance to do so privately, rather than in response to whole-class questioning or an assessment activity.
Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.
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