Using Equations in Turning Point quizzes

By default, you type the answer options in Turning Point, for example like this:

  1. Silicon Dioxide
  2. Calcium Carbonate
  3. Iron Oxide

If your answer options involve anything but the simplest mathematical notation, you will need to take a different approach. There are a few ways to use Turning Point with equations.

This example PowerPoint includes examples of the on-screen options described below.

Paper Answer Sheets

The low-tech way is to hand out sheets of paper with all the equations for each question, handwritten or generated using LaTeX – so for example Q4 on the PowerPoint/Turning Point presentation might ask them which of the equations has an error, and the sheet lists four equations under the heading Q4, labelled A to D. Each student studies the equations, makes their choice and votes accordingly. The paper sheet could also include diagrams etc which form part of the test.

This method has the advantage of simplicity, but does require the sheets to be photocopied and distributed, which costs time and money.

Copy and paste equations from the screen (any program)

Alternatively, you could use screen grab to save equations or diagrams generated using LaTeX (or other software) as image files (GIF format) and paste those into your PowerPoint. Turning Point can create ‘image questions’ (ie using images rather than text choices) – or you can simply label the images and get the students to choose image A, B, C or D.

Copy and paste equations from Adobe Acrobat PDF documents

Adobe PDF Reader has a neat Snapshot Tool that allows you to draw round any equation or diagram and automatically copy it to your clipboard so you can paste it straight into PowerPoint. Just set the View magnification quite high (I use 150% or 200%) so you get a nice clear equation image to copy and paste.

The Snapshot Tool can be found under Acrobat Reader’s Select & Zoom in the Tools menu. If you use it regularly, you can add it to your toolbar – right-click on the toolbar, select More Tools, scroll down to Select & Zoom, and tick the checkbox next to Snapshot Tool.

Microsoft Equation Editor

Finally, you can use Microsoft Equation editor to create equations (labelled A to D for example) and insert those directly on the question slide.

Not enough room on the slide?

One problem you may find is that the equations take up most of a slide and don’t leave room for the vote choices and graph – in this case the simplest solution is to have the question and equations on one slide and then, when the students have made their choice, move on to a second slide that enables them to vote.