# Searching activities with “Find the error” strategy for learning maths

I read pages of the book "Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally" by John A. Van de Walle, Late of Virginia Commonwealth University Karen S. Karp, Johns Hopkins University Jennifer M. Bay-Williams, University of Louisville

I remember an idea that I still don´t use, so... I would like to use it in this starting week,... but the library where I read the book does not have access to the online company resources (where I suppose that any activity pages about this issue are available)

The question is:

1.- Do you have any activity pages with the strategy "find the error" about this issue (powers, and fraction operations)?

and secondarily,

2.- Do you know papers about this strategy "Find the error"

• I'm developing a college course in which I'd like to use this sort of exercise daily. I will be interested in what others have to offer. – Sue VanHattum Nov 7 '17 at 20:15
• @SueVanHattum Do you think this is actually good for students? I'm not saying it's necessarily not good, but I would be worried that they reinforce the errors as acceptable by seeing them. The main problem I've seen at the lower university level was a complete lack of understanding that math is not like law. In law if it's not forbidden it's allowed in math if it's not allowed it's forbidden. But I would see way too much random guessing which I think these kinds of exercise might just reinforce since it feels way too much like there are just some things which are wrong. Instead of almost all. – DRF Nov 13 '17 at 20:20
• Interesting comparison! I will keep that in mind! We want to work with beginning algebra students on recognizing what sorts of steps make sense, and which don't, and understanding why. – Sue VanHattum Nov 14 '17 at 22:55
• My experience with using find the error questions this semester is that they have added nothing to the assessment and confused students into making the same errors presented when asked to do the problem later. I would oppose this question type. – Alexander Gruber Nov 25 '17 at 4:51
• Exercises in this spirit are standard in traditional introductory computer programming classes. One gives students code and asks them to find the errors (or to describe the output). Such exercises can be useful when first learning syntax (essentially the issue in the examples given). The potential pitfall of such exercises is that they could reinforce the student's idea (perhaps less incorrect in the programming context) that everything is just a formal game with incomprehensible rules that need to be memorized and applied (rather than understood). – Dan Fox May 8 '18 at 16:11