In this activity students will work in groups to answer questions. Each group member will have a different role. The purpose of the activity is to check for comprehension and refine communication skills. This activity is appropriate for all age groups and content areas.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Questioning

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Common Core Instructional Shifts 

  • Academic Vocabulary
  • Building Knowledge in the Discipline


Write questions on index cards. Questions can be teacher-generated or students can create them in a pre-activity. Decide whether each group will answer the same or different questions. This can depend on the specific content used. Create a guide that details the roles for each group member. Create sample questions for the model session.

Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce Fan-n-Pick.

    Introduce this activity as a team-building, communication, and comprehension activity

  2. Select model group.

    Select four students to model the format of the Fan-n-Pick. Talk students through the steps of the Fan-n-Pick preferably before working with the whole class, but you can also do this on the spot in the lesson.

  3. Distribute questions.

    Distribute four index cards with questions to the model group.

  4. Student #2 picks a card and reads the question.
  5. Student #3 answers the question.

    Review with students the expectations for answers. What are the elements of a good answer? Remind students to use academic language. Depending on the content, it may be helpful for some students to have sentence starters or vocabulary lists to help them with academic language. During the model, the teacher could reference those learning aids if applicable.

  6. Student #4 restates and evaluates the answers.

    This could vary a bit by content. For example, if the question is a math problem there is a clearly right or wrong answer. The student should say whether it is right or wrong and also evaluate the process. What steps did they do to get the answer? Is there another method that would have also worked? In ELA this might look different if students are asked a question about a character’s actions. There might be multiple answers that are technically correct, but the evidence they use from the text to support their answer may need to be highlighted in the evaluation portion. It may be necessary for the teacher to think aloud a sample evaluation if the student doing the model evaluation did not hit on all of the key points.

  7. Review and discuss the model.

    This is an opportunity to clarify any confusion about the activity. Distribute and review the role guide. Answer any questions students may have about the flow of the activity or the individual roles. Review with students the expectations for answers for Student #3. What are the elements of a good answer? Remind students to use academic language. Review the expectations for Student #4, which include restating the answer in their own words and then evaluating the answer: · Was the answer correct? · Did they leave anything out? · What could have made the answer better? · How do we give meaningful feedback to each other?

  8. Students divide into groups of four.

    Groups can be either purposefully selected or a random grouping strategy could be used.

  9. Distribute questions.

    Distribute four index cards with questions to each group. Each group assigns first-round roles. Who will hold the cards (Student #1), pick the card (Student #2), answer the question (Student #3), and evaluate the answer (Student #4)?

  10. Students ask and answer the first question.

    Student #1 holds the cards. Student #2 picks the card and reads the question aloud. Student #3 answers the question. Student #4 evaluates the answer Student #3 gave. If there is a group with only three students the role of Students #2 and #3 can be combined.

  11. Students rotate roles and repeat until all questions are answered.

    Students rotate roles clockwise with Student #1 becoming Student #2, and so forth, for the next question. This rotation continues until all questions are complete.

  12. Conduct whole-class share-out.

    This is an opportunity to review the content that students reviewed and clear up any confusion or misunderstandings that may have emerged during the activity.

  13. Reflect independently.

    · Reflection questions should focus on the roles of Students #3 and #4. When you answered the question, did you agree or disagree with the evaluation of your answer? Why or why not? · Do you think it was more difficult to answer the question or evaluate the question? Why?

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