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One Minute Problem

This strategy allows students to discuss responses with a group before sharing them with the class, giving students both confidence in their answers and a way to correct any misconceptions. Students expand their own understanding by seeing their peers’ responses. As a teacher, it allows you to assess students’ comprehension of concept.

How to use

1. Prompt

Provide students with a question, problem, or prompt related to material in the lesson.

2. Respond

Students work in groups of two to three to solve the problem or answer the question. Give students a set time to discuss – some prompts will require more than one minute!

3. Post

When group members have agreed on a response or answer to the problem, they record it on a large sticky note or piece of paper, and post it in the same area of the classroom.

4. Discuss

After all groups have posted their answers, discuss the responses. Look for thinking errors and misunderstandings and correct them as needed.

When to use

Use One Minute Problem at any point in the lesson to check for understanding.

  • As a warm-up activity to discuss previous lesson or homework assignment
  • As a warm-up activity to evaluate prior knowledge about a difficult concept (one that frequently has misconceptions)
  • During class discussions as a way for students to summarize ideas
  • During Guided Practice to get a quick formative assessment
  • As a closing activity so that students can review what was learned in the lesson


Truly One-Minute Problems

Give students shorter problems or questions and give them only one minute to respond. This can work well with math problems or multiple choice questions similar to those seen on assessments. When students have their answer, they write it on a sticky note and post it on the board. This can also be done individually.

Agree or Disagree

Provide students with a statement relevant to the current topic. Students work as a group to decide if they agree or disagree with the statement and why. They write their explanation on a sticky note and place it on the board. Have the board divided into two sections, one for those that agree and one for those that disagree. Compare the explanations on either side of the board. Students can be further probed to defend their opinion with examples in their content journal.

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