Our previous posts have been on understanding what three part lessons are, how to design and implement them and how to utilize the Japanese technique Bansho in your classroom. Today we are writing about how Gallery Walk is a technique to actively engage students in math problem solving.
In 2005, the Ministry of Education of Ontario stated, “Mathematical communication is an essential process for learning mathematics because through communication, students reflect upon, clarify and expand their ideas and understanding of mathematical relationships and mathematical arguments”.
Utilizing a Gallery Walk technique helps students use higher order thinking skills such as evaluating, analyzing and synthesizing in a collaborative environment.
The idea here is to solve questions collaboratively and to build upon the skills of others to a solution that has been posted. Now instead of having just one problem-solving question for whole class discussion, create different ones for small group discussions. You will set up your class into heterogeneous groups of 3 to 5, where they will circulate between the posted problems as a group. Each group will have the opportunity to add new content to the solution of each question. (Some teachers use sticky notes where notes can be easily stuck on the chart or some have students write directly on chart paper). Ensure students understand that they are to review what previous groups have written to not repeat what has already been done.
As a teacher, you should have groups rotate through the problem centers every 4-6 minutes (always depending on the type of questions posed). This process continues until each group returns to the first question they started a solution for.
At this point, each group will have solutions that have been analyzed, evaluated and built upon. They will now need to synthesize the information they have provided along with what other groups have provided and create a report of their findings.
This is typically the last stage of Gallery Walk. I personally find it beneficial to go through each question, as a whole class discussion to dispel misconceptions and address further needs. Usually, I have the groups present orally to the rest of the class. Some teachers, for assessment purposes, would rather have written solutions submitted. I think this is all up to you.
Should you not want to have written solutions submitted, during the actual time that students rotate, as teachers we can circulate to gauge students learning or address misconceptions. I tend to take note of the misconceptions to ensure we discuss them during the presentations.
The following websites were utilized to prepare this post: