MAT Blog

Learn… and Eat Your Mistakes!

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jul 8, 2011 7:35:00 AM

Child with Oreo cookies

In today’s test-centric environment, many teachers find it difficult to create assessments that address multiple intelligences. Finding a way to incorporate multiple learning styles with kinesthetic or hands-on activities is vital to engaging children in the assessment process.

Here’s a great alternative assessment that teaches the phases of the moon using every child’s favorite snack:

Students take the assessment into their own hands by carving out the white stuff of a chocolate sandwich cookie to resemble each moon model. It is as delicious as it is educationally effective, and makes achieving this assessment much easier to swallow.

A simple rubric for demonstrating the phases of the moon can be used by folding a paper plate four times. Instruct your students to label and place their cookie “moons” in each eighth of the pie chart. (Pies, cookies…is it time for dessert?) An inexpensive tool for carving would be Popsicle sticks, or even plastic knives from the lunchroom.

The sandwich cookie assessment helps children learn to work together, using their hands as well as their minds (and mouths!). Identifying, creating moon models and labeling them on a non-linear chart are closer to the real life task of actually observing the moon in the night sky: it requires a higher order of learning. Engagement is guaranteed— in fact, have lots of extra cookies on hand, because temptation is great. You may want to plan this activity for after lunch, so that your materials will not get devoured.

This is an example of applying Constructivism to an assessment, a great strategy for engaging even the most hard-to-reach students, which enhances mastery and improves test scores. Another strategy that works well with this assessment is Social Cohesion. It emphasizes group activity and ensures that teachers put the right students together for optimum success. Students are encouraged to self-evaluate during and after team activities to promote greater problem solving and task achievement. The best part about it? It works.

Employ this sandwich cookie assessment today, and watch your test scores rise.

"You will get a High Probability of Enhanced Student Achievement

when these two strategies are used together:

  1. Homework and Practice 
  2. Cooperative Learning in teams or groups"

-Robert Marzano

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Tags: Social Cohesion, Cooperative Learning

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