Math Mondays: A Take on Assessment

As a teacher I look for ways to empower students.  
I don't love big formative assessments, but I do need to know where students are and where they need more support. One way to assess is to have students write their own assessment, and not just any assessment - a math detective.

Lots of my students love the math detective projects. Students take on the role of detective and travel around a city, a national park or even the world in search of a thief and the missing ____. They are extremely engaging for practice, review or assessment, but they are a lot of work to write.

Instead of just giving my students another assessment, I asked them to write their own detective projects.  Students created a much simpler version, but they got the important parts.  

Here's what they did:

  • I gave students blank clue slips.  I asked each student to write 5-6 clues to their mystery.  
  • Students wrote problems and clues for topics they had been working on.  For example, one student wrote a mystery that required solving absolute value inequalities.
  • The students had to write and solve all the problems.  Some students created maps for the other students to use.  
  • To close the assessment, students tried out each other's assessments.  
The activity accomplished the two goals: assess students' understanding of math concepts and engage students in active learning.  The activity was a huge hit, and one I will definitely be doing again. For other ideas for your classroom, check out the resources below and don't miss next week - the Math Monday Blog Hop featuring ideas for upcoming Pi Day

Math Mondays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message on Facebook or at the store in the question and answer section.



  1. Love this idea. I develop math projects with my kids in every unit. Thanks for sharing!