“One Incorrect” Worksheets

One of the things that’s a constant struggle for me every year is giving students access to answer keys for homework problems.  I want homework to be useful to students.  I want them to be able to check their work to know if they’re doing it right, but I go back on forth with whether I should just give students answers or worked out solutions.  I am also terrible at remembering to upload answer keys to Google Drive for students.  If anyone has a system that works for them, please share!

Last week in two of my classes, I assigned a worksheet like this:

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 6.25.13 PM.png

I was introduced to this type of a worksheet this summer by Sara Van Der Werf.  She had us do the one below at one of her PD sessions this summer.  It was this activity from Don Steward.  All but one of the expressions simplifies to 5n + 3, and you need to find the expression that doesn’t and show that all the others do.  I like it because students know that 7 of the answers will be the expression in the middle.  I don’t have to worry about remembering an answer key for students!


I created similar versions for evaluating expressions and order of operations with integers that I used last week in two different classes.  It was easier to make 7 problems that all evaluated or simplified to the same answer than I anticipated.  For the problem that doesn’t work, I tried to create a problem that if students make a common error, the expression still equals what’s in the middle.  For example a problem might have -62 and if students say it is 36 the final answer will equal what’s in the center.

So far, I am really liking how well students have been working together on them.  For whatever reason, it seems that students are more engaged and are more willing to go back and find their own mistakes rather than asking me for help right away when they know that 7 of the answers are the same.  I’m not really sure how this is any different than having the answers in the back of the book, but I’ll take it!


I’m using this one this week for simplifying expressions because I was looking for slightly different types of problems than what I found on Don’s website.


You can find pdf files for the worksheets here.  I don’t know that the Publisher files would be of any use to anyone since I created the equations in Word and copied them to Publisher and used a random font for the other text, but if you want them let me know.  I can upload those too.

Update 2019:  Here’s an order of operations one that I made without integers.

Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 7.00.42 PM

If anyone has created something similar to this or ends up creating similar things, I would love to share resources!



22 thoughts on ““One Incorrect” Worksheets

  1. I loved your post today about One Incorrect. However, I am unable to get to the dropbox. It keeps giving me an error. Would you please share the PDFs from your “One Incorrect Worksheet?”

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I started using gofirmative this year with my students. I can upload their assignments and can turn on the option of them checking their work – without telling them the right answers. It just indicates it it is correct or not. Students then need to self correct and strive for 100% accuracy rather than 100% completeness


  3. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing. It seems like it would take a really long time to come up with 8 expressions to equal 36. How do you source the expressions? Do you and colleagues share the load?


    • I honestly don’t remember what I did to come up with the 8 expressions. It was likely a lot of start with an expression and then tweak it bit by bit until I got to 36. Unfortunately because my school is small none of my colleagues and I have common classes, so there’s no one to share the load when it comes to creating stuff. Start of the school year energy probably helped when I made this. I don’t think I created anything like this after November!


  4. Pingback: Classroom Management – 1ntegration by Parts

  5. What a brilliant idea! Used it in class and allowed them to work in partners (but the same problem at the same time) and had awesome conversations! Thanks!


    • I just added the files that I have to the shared folder (link in post). I don’t have Publisher anymore so I have no idea if those are the right files, but looking through my stuff, that’s all I have right now. Please let me know whether or not it works. I’d love for you to share if you create others like this!


  6. Thank you for sharing this! I am absolutely going to use this soon. The goal is super clear! I can only imagine really fun arguments among my students around which one they’re looking for.


  7. Hi. Do you have any other versions of the simplifying expressions examples? I would really like to give this type of activity to my students as an extra credit opportunity. Do you have a page on teacherspayteachers that I can access?


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