5 tips for developing answer keys with steps

Answer steps are valuable teaching tools that are just as useful as the worksheets you make. Answer keys that include steps break down the thinking process into a teachable strategy. This ultimately helps promote consistent thinking patterns that are transferable to other tasks. It also helps you to pinpoint exactly where in the process an apprentice is having difficulty.

When writing answer steps, keep the following in mind:

1. Number each step

The numbers show a sequence which makes it easier for learners to follow.

2. Begin each step with an action word

This word directs learners what to do. For example: Shade the area of the load chart that has a gross capacity of 6220 kg.

Use the same wording as in the worksheet examples to help learners see a pattern when solving similar tasks.

3. Show each line of the calculation

Breaking down the calculations helps learners see the process that leads them to the answer.

4. Bold the wording of the question in the final step

This format helps learners to confirm that the answer is the information that is required.

For example:      

Task: Calculate the load weight of the steel beam.
Final step: Load weight = 6,100.5 lbs.

5. If there is more than one method to get the answer, include the answer steps for each of the ways to get the answer

Answer keys with steps for more than one way to get an answer show apprentices different ways of thinking. One of the methods may be easier for an apprentice to understand

Answers with steps provide models of a thinking process which help reinforce the skills taught and show how calculations are done. It builds consistency and proficiency in doing a particular type of calculation which helps apprentices continue to build on those patterns to successfully solve more complex tasks. These answer steps provide a strategy that apprentices can follow and learn from.

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