During half term I was asked by my HoF if I had any interesting ways to teach trial and improvement. Having not really taught the topic previously, other than for revision purposes, I decided to browse the TES for a suitable resource.
What I found was fantastic - a complete set of resources from TES user Ryan Smailes. This resource can be seen here --> http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Trial-and-amp-Improvement-Resources-6196873/
The resource involves a ppt, a double sided w/sheet to print out for students and best of all 24 animal pictures/names to display on the board as an introduction into the topic.
The idea is to arrange the 24 animals into size order on the board from smallest to biggest. Using the 2nd set of cards (exactly the same as those on the board) you then pick a student (I used my Random Name Generator for this - see my TES resource http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Random-Name-Generator-6128950/). This student then keeps the card hidden and the rest of the class are asked to guess what card the student has.
The student with the card then responds with either: yes, that is my animal; no, my animal is bigger or no, my animal is smaller. I was then stood at the board providing a visual representation of what the class were doing - i.e. I was shortening the list of possible animals the students could then choose from.
If you look at the picture I took of my board prior to when the class came in you can see how this would work. If the student's card was a pig (my favourite animal - I wrote this on the board to provide some sort of humour/conversation starter right at the beginning of the lesson as the class entered [as if the animal pictures wasn't enough to engage them in the lesson]) and they were asked 'is your animal a cow?' The student would then say 'no, my animal is smaller than a cow'. I would then, on the board, mark a line to the left of the cow to indicate that their animal couldn't be anything to the right of that line. I then repeated this until the correct guess was made. This provided a really clear representation of the method used in trial and improvement to give an answer to a certain degree of accuracy and provided a great 'hook' into the lesson. The class, after 2 or 3 goes realised that it was best to start near the middle of the animals and then at each guess go half way to get to the answer quickest - another useful way of getting students to think of the most efficient method of obtaining an answer.
At the end of the lesson we looked at our topic trackers for the topic (see previous post on student topic trackers), students filled in their confidence 'after lesson' and then the student comment on the bottom of their sheets.
All in all the lesson went fantastically and this was in no small part to the TES resource found above. So, thank you Mr Smailes!