The Three R’s


Grade 10-12 Math Class

Created by Karl Labadorf
Boise State University
EdTech 523
Spring Semester, 2011

Traditional face-to-face activity

  • Originally Titled “The Three R’s”
  • Students would sit together in a circle in a classroom
  • Go around the group sharing two good experience and two poor experience in a mathematics course.
    1. Then discuss the following statement and question "Why is it that in society if someone says 'Hey I can't do math, I am no good at it!' that many others respond by saying 'I know what you are talking about, I can't do it either!' and everyone laughs and cuts up BUT if someone says 'Hey I can't read or write, I am no good at it!' the whole room goes quiet, eyes shift to the floor and everyone walks away from that person like something was wrong with them."
    2. Think about this and tell me in your own words why it is acceptable to be inept at one of the R's but not the others in our society and how this might motivate you in attempting to learn mathematics

Modified online version

  • This Icebreaker would be done very similarly online due to the relative maturity of high school students being able to express their thoughts pretty clear.
  • An online discussion thread could be set up concerning the same questions, so that the class would be broken into smaller groups so that the communication between 5-7 students could be more intimate while still creating enough variation for different discussion.
  • Instead of one day this would run for the first two weeks of the class so that the students could respond to their classmates’ postings.
  • At the end of the two week discussion, each group would be responsible for creating a group wiki page sharing important points of the discussion, where they seem to agree and disagree.
  • The wiki could be created as an outline with related pictures / clip art or PowerPoint presentation.
  • The groups would have another 2 weeks to create the wiki.

Asynchronous or synchronous

This icebreaker is designed for only asynchronous interactions or could involve synchronous chat for the beginning stage of gathering ideas and discussion. I would be a little nervous that through synchronous interaction many ideas and topics would be lost or not expressed completely.