My class was cheating!? Fake Math.

So I team teach in a Grade 7 Math class.  This unit was all about fractions…

my students were killing it…

until I found out they were faking it.

Most of them were using an app called Photomath.  While correcting their fabulous work I noticed most students had an app name scribbled down somewhere on their work (which I mean.. come on.. not very clever).  I confronted the whole class and watched eyes widened and heads drop.

Before I got into the whole cheating thing with them, I had to be honest with my students.  I had to say that I loved this app.  I wish I had it when I was in school. This app doesn’t just give you the answer, it shows the work too!  You simply use your camera to scan over the problem and you get an instant result… BOOM… LOVE.

I hate(d) Math all my life and understood the frustrations students have with various concepts.  I also told them how in my small town high school, I copied off of Cowboy Chuck during most of Grade 10 algebra, but I too learned the hard way (another story for another time).  Cheating got me nowhere… and it wasn’t acceptable.

In the end, I took the opportunity to discuss why we cheat/fake things and the appropriate use of technology.  The fractions test also happened to be the next day, so with all phones away, it became clear to me who knew the math and who cheated their way to the top.  I was disappointed in myself as well… where was I that all this cheating was happening?  I was in the room, I was alert, I was engaged with students…

But then I remembered how sneaky I was when I was their age…

Question- do people really have to learn to do anything anymore?  We don’t have to write in cursive or even print at all, we don’t’ have to go out and get our own groceries or even solve our way out of a math problem… everything is given to us… unless we do the research ourselves… but who does that anymore?  Is it lazy or is it smart?

Remarkable, yet scary times.

Featured image Pixabay


4 thoughts on “My class was cheating!? Fake Math.

  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. My students in Grade 9 definitely know about this app, so I make them put their phones away for any quiz or exam. However, I have also started to question the following, if fraction questions can be solved with an app, should we still test students on that material? Interesting to think about.


  2. I love the approach that you took to this situation. Instead of getting mad and lecturing, you used it as a teaching opportunity; not just for Math class, but for a life lesson on appropriate use of the internet. That app sounds pretty cool too. I may have to check it out 🙂


  3. I wish I had this app when I was in school! I wonder if there is a way for them to use it (outside of testing situations) where they could use the app but be required to explain what they are seeing on the app, like a screencast almost? I’m unfamiliar with the app so unsure if that would work! Like Kyle mentioned, I also wonder why we continue to teach some things to students. However, when it comes to fractions I wish I had paid closer attention and learned about them more thoroughly because as an adult I must admit that the more complex fractions still garner a few brain scratches from me!


  4. It’s a perpetual cat-and-mouse game between what we as educators know exists and what students are using to get a competitive edge.

    The app is absolutely brilliant and there is no ignoring it’s functionality. I, too, love the way you navigated this issue.

    Good post!


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Katie Rosenkranz

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