TOE TOKENS IN HIGH SCHOOL!
I teach AP Chemistry to juniors at a public high school in Knoxville, TN. Reaction prediction is one of the toughest concepts for students to understand and mastery comes with attention to detail and lots of practice
I give a weekly reaction prediction quiz. Scores usually start off fairly low, and steadily improve as the year goes along. In an effort to motivate students to focus in class, memorize patterns, and work to improve quiz scores, I decided to try TOE TOKENS as incentives. I wrote “pHenomenal pHeet” on the board, and told the students that since mastering reaction prediction is truly a phenomenal feat, they could earn “pHenomenal pHeet” by achieving a certain score or by improving their previous score on our weekly quizzes. Typically students earn less than 50% of the points possible (it is really difficult), so I implemented the following reward schedule:
70 or 75% = Toe Token
80 or 85% = See Through Toe
90 or 95% = Twinkle Toe
100% = Glow Toe
Improvement of score, but not yet passing = white toe
Improvement of score between 70 and 85 % = clear toe
Improvement of score above 85 % = clear twinkle toe
First 10 students to get a perfect score = raindrop (one drop of Cu(2+) ion
The results have been “pHenomenal”. Not only are students excited about earning TOE TOKENS, but they are also working to improve their quiz scores so they can earn more of these tiny feet. Students have been seen wearing TOE TOKENS as jewelry and headbands, and on their key chains, backpacks and shoes. Boys and girls alike have been motivated. Even some of my most sophisticated students (popular, affluent and least likely to fall for something simplistic) show off their hard earned TOE TOKENS on their shoelaces. I have had students ask me to “find” other tokens to use as homework incentives, rewards for high test and quiz scores, or exemplary work in the lab. Others have told me that they aren’t just listening when I review reaction prediction equation quizzes, but actively engaged because they want to improve and earn TOE TOKENS. This is nothing like I expected, and I am excited that the color pHeet are the impetus behind my students’ drive for higher scores.