Saturday, August 17, 2013

Scattered Thoughts

First, a February project idea. 
The math teachers are making a concerted effort to do things exactly the same way this year. Last year, there was a lot of midyear student-shuffling because the kids knew we did things differently and thought (perhaps rightly-so) that this meant there was an "easy" teacher and a "hard" teacher. Mid-year shuffling makes us question our teaching abilities and is a pain for everyone, so we want to avoid that this year.

This has meant a lot of compromising already, and one of my co-workers told me yesterday that one area she's not willing to compromise on is the African-American Mathematicians and Scientists project she assigns every February. The project she's assigned for the last twelve years requires students to research an African-American mathematician or scientist and present them to the class via poster or PowerPoint or what-have-you.  I think she may also have them write a biography on the person. 

I'm already thinking of ways I can make this project my own, and I'm thinking of having the kids put themselves in the mathematician's shoes and come up with two or three pics their person would have posted to instagram, a few tweets they would have posted, or maybe a YouTube video shot from the perspective of the mathematician. I think the kids could really have fun with this.

And a First Days/Last Days project, too.
I kind of the love the idea of having students write their math autobiographies at the beginning of the school year and then add to them as the year progresses or maybe as a culminating project at the end of the year. My kids would probably find this breakdown helpful.

Plus a game.
One of my least favorite sections to teach is interpreting graphs. None of us teachers really enjoy the topic, but our kids really, really hate it. And they struggle with it. I like this idea from Sarah Hagan of mathequalslove for practice describing/interpreting graphs. Graphing Scattergories is much more fun than anything we've come up with. 

I also really like the mathequalslove version of the marshmallow challenge. Her instructions are genius in their simplicity.

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