I call this task “Red Amber Green” – not the most imaginative name I know. There are three levels of questions – Red Amber and Green. The questions increase in difficulty with Green being the basic core skills and Red being the most challenging.
Pupils work in pairs or small groups – it works best if they work with others of a similar pace and ability to them. All the questions are placed in trays at the front of the room (or stuck on the whiteboard) and pupils come up and take a question back to their table.
Pupils choose their own starting level, taking a new question when completed the previous one. They must have answers marked at that level before moving on to another level. If they have made any mistakes pupils must make corrections first. I go round and offer assistance where and when it is needed and mark answers.
This is a great task as it allows for easy differentiation and pupils can work at their own pace and level. Most pupils want to get to the most challenging level. It is quick to make as I only need to produce one set of questions for the whole class and great for team work. Only issue is not being able to see what each individual is contributing all the time but I try to listen in at as many groups as I can.
It is very simple to organise and run and I have never had a class that didn’t love taking part in this task.
What I love is that it works for lots of topics: expanding brackets, factorising, percentages, fractions, logs, trig equations – endless possibilities.
Sometimes, to jazz it up a bit I call the levels Challenge, Super Challenge and Ultimate Challenge. Pupils seem to want to complete anything with the word Challenge in it.