I love presenting students with tasks with which there is no one correct answer. Although it initially confuses those students looking to see the world in black or white, it eventually encourages them to open up and share what they know about a subject without confining them to the one expected answer.
One such task is my ‘Bracketology’ lesson. Although I use this when looking at components of fitness, it can be easily adapted to be used with other topics and other subject areas.
Taking a ‘March Madness’ approach I have seeded 16 sports and pitted them against each other. Students discuss each sport and decide which athletes are the fittest based on all of the components of fitness. Discussions can get heated, especially when their is a participant of one of those sports in class that gets protective of their own sport – wrestlers, and hockey athletes can get quite heated!
I have asked students to explain their ‘Final Four’ and why each matchup went the way that it did.
After the task you could ask students which sports that don’t appear on the bracket should be considered for next time. Alternatively you could put all 16 in a hat and have a live draw – increasing the excitement and maybe leading to an early upset. Or how about assigning each student a different sport – they have to advocate for their sport alone in order to increase its chances of going through to the next round.
A link to my bracket is at the top of this post. You can also find it here.