September 25, 2022

Wildcard Wednesday

Wildcard Wednesdays are the third, unique antiracist intervention. Because 98% of the students of color from the target school are economically challenged the school has had little success using homework as a learning tool. Interviews with teachers have revealed that less than ten percent of students at the target school do homework with fidelity on a regular basis but research has shown that mixed spaced practice of mathematical concepts is important to students deeper understanding, longer lasting memory and procedural fluency (Carpenter et al. 2012). The goal of Wildcard Wednesday’s is to get students to engage in mixed spaced practice in fun and unique ways. One week, students will perform a “station race” activity. This entails nine unique mixed spaced practice problems placed at nine different stations. Each student has their own individual solution sheet that has enough space for them copy and work each of the problems. The activity begins with the start of a timed slide show that plays an upbeat piece of music for exactly three minutes before an audio cue signals them to move to the next station and problem. Students work together to solve each problem but they must do their own work. Research suggests that students think better while standing (Dornhecker,Blake, Benden, Zhao, Wendel, 2014 p. 271-280). The second activity is the use of the an online platform for students to do mixed spaced practice. While they still do their own problems, they work in teams and assist each other. This is a multiple-choice platform which is the only time, other that quarterly district benchmark and the SBAC summative assessments, that students are exposed to. This helps them build multiple choice test taking skills as well since students win more “points” the faster they get something right. While research shows (Engle 2002) that timed tests are detrimental to growth of mathematicians there are no negative consequences for the ranking in the game and students are constantly reminded that great math isn’t about doing math fast but about thinking deeply (Boaler, 2016).

SUPPLIES: Set of Problems, Timed Music ppt, Timed Music video Answer Sheet


  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them: 
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Look for and make use of structure


  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Judgment and Complex Decision Making


  1. Tape a single problem at each “station”.
  2. Distribute an answer sheet to each student
  3. Have each team stand next to their station (As they rotate I don’t allow them to sit to solve the problems for multiple reasons)
  4. Start the timed video and have students get to work. When the song changes have students rotate to the next station. When students are at the last station I have them do their work on the board and leave it up.
  5. I rotate around and either say their work is correct or I get to have a little fun doing math. Students will then take a picture of their answer sheet and load it up into their Google Classroom.


Selecting 9 review/preview problems that students should be able to solve as a team in 3 minutes is a bit of an art. I usually will space a couple of really quick problems in so that if students don’t get a chance to finish a hard one in the given time that can work on it after a quick one.