As I’m now halfway through my first year of teaching, I’ve found one of my biggest challenges in planning is in trying to anticipate difficulties that students will have with certain material. As a math guy I struggle a lot to see things from a non-math perspective, and I’m trying to collect all the resources I can to help.

One of the things I’ve been looking for, and so far have been unable to find, is a simple database of common misconceptions about different math topics. Basically, I want a place that I can go to, type in what we’re learning (for example, mean-median-mode) and just get a list of the top 3 or 4 misconceptions that most students have for that topic. So rather than me having to see after my lesson that everyone gets mean and median confused, I could anticipate that error and drive the point home.

So my question to the interwebs is, does such a thing exist? If it doesn’t, any good suggestions on how I could set that up? Like a wiki space where everyone could contribute? I’m not necessarily looking for strategies to deal with misconceptions (although adding those in wouldn’t hurt) but primarily a list.

I welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance!

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What a terrific idea. There is a great website (mathmistakes.org) where teachers share mistakes students make and discuss ways to analyze them. It sounds like you’re looking for something bigger.

I don’t know of any such place, but I agree it would be awesome. I teach 7th grade math and we were just learning factoring/distributing/and combining like terms. I gave an exit slip and took one class and wrote down all the wrong answers for a few of the problems and was easily able to find common misconceptions by my students. My thought was to post these wrong answers another day as an opening and have students explain the misconception they saw in each problem.