Review Strategies With Pivot Interactives

December 2, 2022

Review Strategies With Pivot Interactives

What Should it look like to Review?

Review isn't just "lecture, part 2." Reviewing is our way to do some last minute teaching. Often times, reviewing is just another way to describe dusting off the ol' long term memory. Sometimes, you may be using your review time to fix misconceptions, the corrupted files in long term memory. You may be repeating information, in the hopes of converting a short-term memory into a long term memory. Or, you may just be filling in missing information all together. No matter the purpose for you review, Pivot Interactives can be a helpful partner in your review repertoire.

Strategy #1: Self-Guided Practice with Scaffolded Activities

  • Best for: Independent or Small Group
  • Set Up Time: Medium 
  • Feedback Time: Low

Think back to that plan we discussed in What is a Review: remember the activities with less than 25% of the class that needs review? These are your individual review topics. For each of these topics, make a generic review plan that your students can follow. Generally, the format for these activities is reteach - apply - assess.


Here’s an example review plan that I used for multiple topics in my AP® Physics 1 class:

  • (Reteach) Find 2-4 review videos that cover all of the topics in this unit. For each video, write a set of guided notes to summarize the video. The total notes should be no longer than 1 page per video. Upload these notes to our classroom dropbox when you’re finished. They can be digital (typed) or handwritten (pictures/scans of the pages).
  • (Apply) Complete the Pivot activity listed. After the lab, write a 1-paragraph summary of how the information in the unit is connected to success in this activity.
  • (Assess) Complete the unit review questions (5 MCQ and 1 FRQ). These will be the only items checked for accuracy.

Set up:

I needed to select one activity for each topic we designated as “independent review.” Generally, this would be anywhere from 2-4 activities that I needed to assign to everyone. Not everyone would do these: I required each student to select one of the independent review topics to complete, but they could do more if they wanted. 

Scaffolded activities are found in the Difficulty filter in the library.

How to use Pivot Interactives for Self-Guided Review:

Quickly select 1-2 labs for each unit using the Scaffolding section of the Difficulty filter. High Scaffolded activities are best for asynchronous, individual reviews either in class or at home. Assign ALL of the activities to all students. To find/check their work, have the students complete a checklist for what they did and upload this to your learning management system. 

Feedback Time:

In this method, I focus my feedback on the assessment questions at the end of each topic. While I give feedback on the Pivot activity and the notes, most of my energy is spent on the assessment questions. Instead, I tie them back to the video notes and the activity, referencing points from both that would have helped them on the questions.

Strategy #2: Use Introduction Activities as Launch Points

  • Best for: whole class review
  • Set-Up Time: Low 
  • Feedback Time: None

Why not start your review with the phenomena? Start the unit review in class by watching a Pivot instance or briefly interacting with a simulation. (For example, AP® Biology and the Natural Selection PhET)

Give the students a list of the unit’s learning objectives and essential knowledge (printed from the CED). For longer units, break this up so that each student only has 1 topic. Then, have the students tie the video or simulation to every essential knowledge standard in the topic. For topics or standards that do not directly relate, explain ask them to explain why.

When you’re done, discuss the connections as a class to make a “One-Pager” of key takeaways from the unit.


For this, I just need to find one activity that I can use the video or simulation for. Honestly, I often delete all of the questions on activity just to remove the distraction. I also need to either print the topic lists (which is my preferred method) or give my students a digital copy of the the topic lists to use with this exercise.

Check out the Early activities in the Instructional Cycle filter.

How to use Pivot Interactives Introduction Activities for Review:

Use videos from Early (Introduction) activities. These videos often encompass more topics in one video because they are selected for higher exploration ability. The questions are also designed to introduce the topic as well, so leaving the questions just increases their access to reteaching. 

Feedback Time:

In this method, the final material is the one-pager that you make as a class. This can be done on poster board or even on the whiteboard, with the students just taking a picture of it when it’s done. If you have a document camera, build your one-pager on a single sheet of paper (just like the students) and scan the file copy to add to the classroom resources. If you want more numeric data, follow up the next class with 1-3 questions to check for understanding. 

Strategy #3: Add MCQs For Year-Round Review!

  • Best for: Year-round review
  • Set-Up Time: Low to Medium 
  • Feedback Time: None, once set up is complete

Maybe you’re thinking about reviewing past topics earlier in the year. If you find an activity you like and you want to add some year-round review, consider adding your own multiple-choice questions (MCQs) with feedback. These can even be AP-style questions if you’re teaching an AP® course. 

Multiple Choice Questions can be a dynamic and responsive way to review factual information.


Add multiple-choice questions that relate the current topic to past topics, either thematically or conceptually. For example, maybe you’re learning about reaction kinetics in chemistry, and you’re using an acid-base reaction for the example reaction. Ask them questions about the acid-base reaction in the example. Or, ask them general questions about the reaction (like the parts of the reaction or the limiting reagent). If there are prior concepts that they need to remember to be successful, now is the perfect time to bring them up. For example, kinetic energy relies on velocity. Ask the students to find the velocity of an object to find the kinetics energy, linking their kinematics unit to their energy unit. 

How to use Pivot Interactives with MCQs for Review:

When you create a question, consider the following tips:

  • Allowing for multiple submissions will allow the student to make corrections DURING the activity rather than at the end when scores are released. 
  • The response area is the best help you can provide. These responses appear after the student submits that answer. If the answer is wrong, giving very pointed feedback about why the answer is wrong will help the student to identify the confusions and misconceptions they have to make adjustments moving forward. 
  • When making an MCQ, be sure to turn on autograding and set a point value! This will take your feedback time to zero. 

Interested in learning more about modifying and editing? Check out our Quick Start Guide to the Editor or our YouTube series on modifying and building activities. 

Strategy #4: The Best Wrong Answer

  • Best for: MCQ Review and Testing Strategies
  • Set-Up Time: Low
  • Feedback Time: Medium

The difference between a good multiple choice question and an AMAZING multiple choice question is the wrong answers. Amazing MCQs provide wrong answers that look and feel probable, but each addresses a specific misconception that a student would have. Standardized assessments are known for having strong distractors, meant to be as tempting as possible. To help students with this, teach them to identify the best wrong answers. 


Whenever you give the student an MCQ with a wrong answer, duplicate the question, then ask the student, “which of these answers is the best WRONG answer?” Make this question worth 1 point and award the point to any student that selects a wrong answer. Beneath this, provide an open-ended question where the student is asked to “justify your previous selection: what makes this response the BEST wrong answer? What misconceptions, misunderstandings, and confusions does this answer address, and how can you avoid them?”

This step allows you to see the student’s thought process behind misconceptions. They will pick the answers that they know are wrong, and you can see how deep their learning goes. 

How to use Pivot Interactives with "The Best Wrong Answer" Review:

When grading, you can select multiple questions to grade at the same time. When you use this method, select the three questions to show together: the right answer, their wrong answer, and their defense. This way, you will be able to see all of their information on one screen, making it easier to scroll through the class. 

Want to learn more about grading? Check out our YouTube primer on grading.


When providing feedback, focus your attention on their defense of the wrong answer. If they are defending an answer that is instead correct, this will show you misconceptions that they have and you can address them. If they’re defending an easier misconception, point out the other misconceptions addressed and show them how to avoid those in the future. 

Strategy #5: Pre-Pivot-Post

  • Best for: Short Answer Practice
  • Set-Up Time: Medium
  • Feedback Time: Low

Sometimes, the best way for a student to learn from their mistakes is for them to experience their mistakes by doing. But, rather than risking safety doing a lab and spending time on set up and take down, use Pivot Interactives to provide the interactive experience. 


This method has three parts: a pre-test, a Pivot activity, and an identical post-test. Pretest the students with a short response question, like an FRQ. Once the students are done, do not release the scores or answers. Next, have the students complete a corresponding Pivot Interactives activity. Ideally, this activity will be similar to the phenomena discussed in the short answer question. Then, without giving detailed feedback on the activity, have the students retest with the same short answer assessment as before the activity. Ask them to compare their answers before and after the lab. Use the class time to discuss how experiences in the lab help to prepare students for the exam. This serves the purpose of not only reviewing for the assessment but also teaching them the value of real-world practice in the classroom. I find it most beneficial when I use this strategy early in the year, as it solidifies that labs and activities aren’t just for the “coolness” factor (albeit that they are REALLY COOL). Activities like Pivot Interactives help them to experience models of the less tangible vocabulary and systems that we discuss in class. Plus, as they defend their changes, you will hear a lot of “well, in the Pivot, the (system/scenario) did (action/result). Therefore, I expect that this (system/scenario) will also do (action/result).” They will begin to use the models they make naturally, growing their understanding and giving them one more reference.

How to use Pivot Interactives Pre/Post Test Review:

Finding the perfect Pivot/question pair can be the tricky part. To help, we have made some pairs to showcase how this would look. 

Additionally, Pivot Interactives hosts it's own exclusive FRQ practices, made with Pivot Interactive instances right on the platform.


In this strategy, we’re really focusing on the changes that they made and why they made those changes. While it’s important to see if they’re right or wrong, it’s more important to see that if they were wrong before, they are correct in the end. So, focus on what changes were made. Check their logic and make sure that it’s sound and applicable moving forward.

Wanna learn how to prepare for a rocking review? Check out our blog on Review Essentials with Pivot Interactives.

*AP® is a registered trademark by the College Board which is not affiliated with and does not endorse Pivot Interactives. IB® is a registered trademark by the International Baccalaureate which is not affiliated with and does not endorse Pivot Interactives.