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The Benefits of Random Groups in the Math Classroom

The Benefits of Random Groups in the Math Classroom
Mrs. Kristen Chrobocinski, 7th Grade Math Teacher and Math Coordinator
Middle school students in 7th grade at The Woods Academy are put into random groups each class to help improve their learning

This summer, I read the book, Building Thinking Classrooms by Peter Liljedahl which was a great read for anyone interested in classroom methodology.  One of the main things that I decided to try was to make randomized groups in the seventh grade math classes.

According to Liljedahl, some of the changes that occur with random groupings include:

  • Students become agreeable to work in any group they are placed in.
  • There is an elimination of social barriers within the classroom.
  • Mobility of knowledge between students increases.
  • Reliance on the teacher for answers decreases.
  • Reliance on co-constructed intra- and inter-group answers increases.
  • Engagement in classroom tasks increase.
  • Students become more enthusiastic about mathematics class.

In order to be successful, the students must visually see that the groups are random so I make the groups quickly right before class with a program called class dojo.

 

I think it helps students to see that they are only working with that group for one class period and it will change up every day. Overall, it has been working really well. The students have accepted the fact that they will be sitting in a different place each day and they get to work quickly. They don’t complain about who they are sitting with and they help each other when they need it. It has enhanced the learning and camaraderie in the classroom.

 

Source: https://peterliljedahl.com/wp-content/uploads/Visibly-Random-Groups.pdf