# Clever exam bonus question

Nope, not a cute puzzle. Not a deep brain teaser. Just another, beautiful use of the 2009 game.

We give long final exams. The period lasts two hours and twenty minutes. It is possible to write an exam that takes the average kid two hours, allowing those who move a bit slower an opportunity to finish without time pressure. But what to do with the early finishers?

If they were perfect, they would check their work twice, take a crack at one or two little bonus questions, and then have nothing to do. Even perfect kids get fidgety, and my kids are not necessarily perfect. Whispering, chairs creaking, papers rustling, it all gets tough on those still working.

So we kept them engaged. The 2009 game is, at their level, open-ended. I offered one tenth of a point per number correctly found. Big give away? Nah. Even teachers, with 20 minutes, most would pick up 4 – 6 points. Glancing at the exams (not graded yet), it looks like the kids picked up 1 – 4. And in return? They were engaged with a puzzle that forced them to play with numbers. Also in return? The slower test-takers had a much quieter testing environment than they might have had otherwise.

Thanks Denise!

(note, I did this last year as well. Don’t remember if I wrote about it, though.)

I did the exact same thing with my 8th graders and 11th graders! It was fun to watch a few of the eight graders get really engaged in it, although they needed some correction and re-explanation. One of my eleventh graders told me after the exam that she got 47!