Multi Step Calculations

Idea created by Jason Passey on Feb 1, 2018
    Open for Voting
    • Martin Sharp
    • Jason Passey

    I want technology to expand my abilities as a teacher not just digitize it for administrative tracking. To do that the tool needs to allow the student to be more autonomous and the teacher more efficient.  i.e. The quiz/homework engine I will use must be able to give immediate feedback (not my idea here but necessary) so the student can practice a formula or procedure that requires multiple steps to complete the final calculation but also gives feedback along the way.  


    I have seen the idea in two other places. the one I currently use is an online tool in my physics classes.  It was designed by a physics teacher for physics and while much of the automated question scoring resembles any other quiz engine, it is very limited in other ways.  But there is one feature it possesses that makes me put up with the lack of bells and whistles like seamlessly updating a grade book or not having that matching-type-question feature I would often use or even clever quiz analysis tools. I want in canvas the ability to write a multi step physics question ; that I do not tediously have to grade yet gives ample practice to the student to reassure them they are on the right track. 


    For example: the pic below shows the teacher editing-view of a question with five intermediate parts or steps to find a final solution notice towards the bottom is shows "Part 2".  If I scroll down I can see part 2 and part 3 is at the bottom of this pic and so on.  The power of my idea is in the fact that all of the questions/parts use the same randomized variable range throughout then the answer to part 2 can be/is the input to part 3 or 5 or any number of subsequent parts I make (see top picture--notice v and y variable ranges that could populate and y is used in part 1 formula and v in part 2 formula)  for example: If I put a range representing gravity of planets, I could then have a student calculate how long a rock would be in the air on one theoretical planet, the value will not change while the student answers related questions and yet their best friend has the same worded questions but the value for their planet is different. I often have them help each other with the process that is the same yet the numbers are not.Put another way (third way actually) each student is given different numbers based on the range but the number populated within the parts works for as many steps as I want to make (I have not met the limit to parts)  .  Notice in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th pics the formula entry line includes factors or terms from previous parts labeled as part 1 or specifically part3 in formula line for part 5 solution. Typical question tools elsewhere do not have this and would treat part 1 independent of part 2 or 5 and would only work if the "variables" where presented to students as the same numbers for everyone.  That simply is not an option to me.  


    This idea may not be obvious even to a math teacher but anyone that understands the branching solutions of a given math/physics problem will clearly understand how this question sequencing is missing in most quiz/homework engines. Let me illustrate by showing a few more sequenced pictures--showing an incorrect response below and the way the student would see the question, and a correct response below that for part 1 of the question.  Other quiz engines and for that matter currently would stop there or would require the variable to be fixed (not good for collaborative study) or treat subsequent questions as a new scenario.  But with a multi-step-calculation option (not married to the label, just saying), part 5 can be solved with coherence to the original question instead of creating a disconnect from one quiz item to the next.  If we treat automated quizzes like other engines Part 5 of this question could be solved without the intermediate parts but the typical student would likely give up long before they got the answer if they did not get it the first time (FYI ignoring air resistance and gravity is rounded).  But if they know it is somewhere in that last step or two they are more likely to persist and succeed.  


    While perhaps hard to imagine, this feature expanded could allow an English teacher to quiz on word or sentence building.  A history teacher could use it to build time lines. Math teachers could use it on the many nuances of graph knowledge, formula building or steps to long division.  


    The current program I use displays boxes around the parts within the larger question and includes buttons/links to add a part here or remove a part there.  I routinely use this feature as I model the procedures to solve problems while the students work their version with the different numbers at the same time. Further this feature combined with the other features such as attaching pictures, embedding a youtube tutorial, nearpod discussion, and drag and drop features, I feel would quickly propel Canvas and to must have status for anyone wanting online options.


    Thanks for "hearing" me out