Thursday, April 6, 2017


Sports, Car, Racing Car, Roadster  No R.A.C.E. is not talking about the Indie 500 or any other car race. It is a process designed to help students create answers to a constructed response question.

Yesterday, one of the teachers gave us an overview of the process.  As a math teacher, my first impulse is simply, "My kids don't need to know that" but I realized they do need it, so I thought I would share it with readers.

R.A.C.E, is an acronym for Restate, Answer, Cite & Explain although in math, the C could mean compute and check.

Restate is to reword the question into a statement which becomes part of the answer.  Answer is the next part where the student provides the answer to the question.  Cite is where the person sites the evidence to support the answer but in math, the student would provide the numbers used to calculate the answer.  Explain might be showing their work or explaining the material read in a book.

What the students have when they are finished is a well written detailed paragraph containing the answer and their thinking.  It changes explanations from I multiplied two numbers to I had to multiply the length - 6 and the width - 4 to get the area of the rectangle.  Much more specific, detailed information.

The two places in math I can see using this structure is when students read the textbook or for word problems.  Since I work mostly with English Language Learners, I have to provide structures and scaffolding.  This process is great for my situation.

According to several things I read, the restate and answer are the same but the cite is the place they show their work and explain is discussing how they solved the problem or the strategy used. So a three step view of this is:
1.  Students must answer the question.
2. Students need to explain their answer.
3.  Students need to prove their answer is correct.

One idea to practice the process is to create "Entry tickets" which require students to create a short constructed math response to a question and each has a rubric at the bottom reminding students what is expected.  The question might be like Jo and June both worked the problem "96➗ 4 + 2.  Jo got 48 while June got 12.  Which student is correct.  Explain your answer.  These should not take more than 10 minutes.  This is something which could easily be used as a warm-up or bell ringer. 

I just found something that talks about math problems and reading in a way that shows a relationship I've never seen before.  I'll be sharing it with everyone tomorrow.  Let me know what you think about this. 

Have a good day.