This activity is very effective for last minute revision and can be adapted in a number of ways. The task requires a four column table with the first column listing all the key chunks of knowledge you want your students to know, for example in a history topic this would be key events, people and developments. The remaining columns should be headed describe, explain and significance with the boxes beneath left blank with the blank boxes left deliberately small limiting the amount of information students can include.
The task is for students to record, in bullet points, a description, an explanation why and the significance of each development included in the table. This task was inspired by Malcolm Chandler, an experienced examiner and author, who argues that this type activity can help reduce key information with a clear exam focus as the vast majority of exam questions based on own knowledge focus on description, explanation and significance.
This task is ideal for a revision session, particularly close to the exams when you are looking for a meaningful, exam-focused task which requires students to apply their knowledge in an engaging manner whilst giving them a ‘take-away’ revision aid. To enhance the engagement element of the activity, it can be delivered in a number of ways –
- Allow students to complete the task in groups under timed conditions. Which group can complete the most boxes? This adds competition and allows students to get more used to working under timed conditions.
- Each student completes just one event. Then play Quiz Quiz Trade, where they have to go around the class exchanging information with other students aiming to complete the table.
- Add blank event boxes and ask students to identify any events that you may have missed out.
- Complete some describe, explain or significance boxes but leave the event boxes blank and students have to work out the events.