Cash Cab Activity

The following tip comes from Dr. Carol Lawrence, Professor of Mathematics at North Carolina Wesleyan College. She uses this activity to assess student readiness to learn or to check student learning, depending on when she uses the activity.

As a professor I look for simple but effective ways to motivate student learning and assess student understanding. During the previous academic year, I developed and incorporated a new activity I call Cash Cab (based on the TV series) to promote student engagement in class and encourage homework completion outside the classroom.

When playing Cash Cab, the students were given a question to answer or a problem to solve on a note card. If my objective was to have students access and review prior knowledge needed for the current lesson’s concept being developed, I would give the question/problem at the beginning of class. If the objective was to assess the learning of the current concept, the students completed the problem at the end of class. The amount of time given to complete the question/problem was based on how long I thought the students needed for that particular question/problem.

When all note cards were collected. I randomly selected one card in which the student was asked to answer the question or put the problem on the board for 2 extra credit homework points, provided the answer was correct. If the student was not comfortable with his/her answer on the card he/she could do a “call out” to another student for help. If, with the “call out” student’s assistance, the answer was correct each of these two students received 1 point extra credit. All the other cards were checked and received 1 point for each correct answer, 0 points for an incorrect answer. I gave no partial credit since these were responses for extra credit. My mathematics students, particularly the Intermediate Algebra (developmental mathematics) students, were very competitive and requested more problems so I will definitely use it again.


Submitted by:
Fred W. Sanborn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Director, Teaching & Learning Center
North Carolina Wesleyan College

For more information please contact Taylor Halverson, Teaching and Learning Consultant