Low-Tech Student Response System

For the past two years, I've had clickers. I adore them. I could ask a multiple-choice question during instruction and receive instant feedback about what my students thought. I could even print fancy graphs to impress my administrators with my use of data-driven instruction. Then along came our district's mandatory update to Windows 10, which does not play nice with my amazing clickers. And I've been pouting even since. Each time I open a PowerPoint from last year, I see these beautiful multiple-choice questions and I angrily delete them or re-write them.

This week, I was introducing Polynomials, and I had great multiple-choice questions already formatted and ready to go. I decided to leave them in and just have students raise their hand for the correct answer. Lame, I know. 

We did these fun {free} notes to introduce the vocabulary and then it was time to practice with multiple choice, and I had a stroke of genius. I went to my supply cabinet and took out a stack of index card. I told students to write the letter A large with a marker. Then, turn it 90 degrees and write B (yes, upsidedown!). Then flip it and do the same with C and D. 

I posed the question, and they then held up their answer choice so that I could see it. 

I was able to quickly assess what students thought (just like my clickers used to allow me to do) and collect data that helps me drive instruction. I can't print out fancy-pants graph (one point clickers). BUT unlike the clickers, were I could only see a break-down of which students responded with each answer after the lesson, the index cards allow me a quick visual of who needs extra help (one point cards). Plus they actually WORK! (100 points cards) - and they will work with all future Windows updates as well ;) 

At the end of 1st period, I collected the cards and reused them throughout the day.  The students had much more fun with this than just raising their hand, and I saw less guessing/cheating/looking around. Another win for active engagement!

Here are the questions I used about classifying polynomials if you want to try them out. 


  1. If you haven't tried Plickers yet, I highly recommend at least trying them! I love them. Each kid gets a unique "QR" type coded card based on the roster you import and helps to eliminate the "looking around" as well. Also, you get immediate and real time feedback on your personal device and/or a screen you can project for students. You can see who has and hasn't answered each question and then can get aggregated data at the end!

    1. Thanks for the idea! I will have to check those out.


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