Review Questions with Spreadsheets

I wanted to use a new method of reviewing with students as we wrap up our cell activity unit. I've been working with my students on forming questions with the question formulation strategy around content as well as finding new ways to build content knowledge resources. We're at the point in the year where details are more and more significant and we connect (seemingly) disconnected ideas.

I threw together a template spreadsheet (click to make a copy for yourself) in Drive and then assigned students to groups. Using Doctopus (life changing...really), I was able to give each group a blank template. Their task was to come up with review questions on anything they'd like from this section.


Review questions in Sheets flickr photo by bennettscience shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The next layer was to have the groups look at their original questions and revamp them into something that is AP Biology-worthy. Groups that do this well will have their questions included on the test.


I noticed three things:

  1. Critical review by individual students. The questions they asked me underscored misconceptions present. I was able to work them through why the right answer was right and where they needed to correct their understanding.

  2. Competition amongst groups to ask better questions was high. I didn't promise only one question included, so there is a high desire to write really good questions. Group members worked together to revise and strengthen their questions.

  3. Writing questions that really check for understanding is difficult. It's easy to write a really hard questions. It's much more difficult to write a question that checks for understanding. Students recognize that the questions I design and ask are very specific for a reason. They're going through the same process.

In the future, I would build some kind of dashboard to aggregate the questions and look them over as a class, but with time short, I think this is a good first pass.

How would you build or extend this? What am I missing?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *