## Teaching Math with Clickers

Today’s guest blogger is Derek Bruff, Assistant Director for the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University. Derek writes a blog you may have stumbled across called Teaching with Classroom Response Systems. Here’s a question I ask the students in my probability and statistics course: Your sister-in-law calls to say that she’s having twins. Which of the following is more likely? (Assume that she’s not having identical twins.) A. Twin boysB. Twin girlsC. One boy and one girlD. All are equally likely Since I ask this question using a classroom response system, each of my students is able to submit his or her response to the question using a handheld device called a clicker. The clickers beam the students’ responses via radio frequencies to a receiver attached to my classroom computer. Software on the computer generates a histogram that shows the distribution of student responses. I first ask my students to respond to the question individually, without discussing it. Usually, the histogram shows me that most of the students answered incorrectly, which tells me that the question is one worth asking. I then ask my students to discuss the question in pairs or small groups, then submit their (possibly different) answers again using their clickers. This generates a buzz in the classroom as students discuss and debate the answer choices with their peers. After the second “vote,” the histogram usually...

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