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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Teaching Primary Science: Physics. Join the course to learn more.
3.9

Creating a multiple choice quiz

Another way that you can elicit misconceptions in children is to set quizzes. The quiz needs to be quick and easy to carry out but give the teacher important information; do the children have any misconceptions? Multiple choice quizzes are quick to carry out and to analyse data.

There are lots of interesting ways to create and carry out multiple choice quizzes in the classroom. The use of technology to create and carry out quizzes is becoming increasingly popular as they are straight forward and can give instant data.

One such quiz maker is Plickers. Plickers allow you to create polls for your class using unique printable cards and a portable device (phone, tablet). Each child has a card with a black and white image on it, much like a QR code and is given a multiple choice question. The cards are labelled on each side for each answer. So the children hold up the ‘right’ answer by putting the ‘correct’ side at the top. The teacher then scans the cards using their portable device. This creates instant data showing children’s understanding.

Asking the right questions in any multiple choice quiz is the key. There is no point making the correct answer too obvious. We should try to add possible misconceptions and near answers in the options so the children really have to think.

For eliciting a misconception like the components in a circuit get more electricity if they are closer to the cell, we could do something like this:

Look at this circuit Which bulb would be the brightest?

a. A would be the brightest

b. C would be the brightest

c. A&B would be the brightest, C would be duller

d. All the bulbs would be the same brightness

Create

Choose another common misconception in primary physics and think of a multiple choice question you could ask to elicit that misconception. What other possible answers would you provide? Write your questions and possible answers in the shared