One of my favorite things about teaching is showing my students how what we cover in class is used the real worldother than word problems. While I do not do this as much as I wish I did, I do take personal victories when I am able to! I have found that projects are a great tool for this. While covering ratios/scales in my PreAlgebra class last year, I noticed there where a number of problems centered around architecture. I decided to create a project where my students would create a scale drawing of a house and then create a scale model of the house. For the sanity of my students, their parents, and me, they could only create drawings/models of onestory houses. My students begged and begged to let them create multiple story houses but I knew the model would be a bit too time consuming for a 7th grade math project. (All I could think about was how much time that my friends at Tech that were architecture majors spent in studio and I knew I had to scale this back!) To make sure my students were not completing this in one night, I had 3 checkpoints over a month before the project was due. They were as follows: 1st: Rough Drawing of your house with dimensions 2nd: Scale Drawing of your house with rooms labeled with their purpose (cannot be on graph paper) 3rd: Scale Drawing of your house with dimensions (actual and the scale measurements) I also allowed my students to have 1 workday in class to construct their house. This allowed me to help them and give them pointers on glue and cutting. This also gave me time to redirect those who were WAY off point. This was my first time doing this project and so are some kinks. I ended up making copies of everyone's scale drawings so that they could build the house on that. Changes I would make next time:1) I would limit the size of paper used for scale drawing to 8.5 x 14 in (the bigger the paper, the bigger the house)2) I would set the scale that student's use to 1in to 1ft or 1cm to 1ft The range of what I got was staggering! They did look awfully pretty on my window seal though! I am including pictures of projects that exceeded expectations, meet expectations, and did not meet expectations. This project can be purchased on my Teacher's Pay Teachers store!
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I love the idea of my students having fun in class but I find it hard to develop/find games/activities that are productive to learning or practice. It takes a good bit of trial and error and reflection. For me, I use short games that can be explained, completed, and cleanedup in less than 15 minutes (it may roll into 20 minutes depending on the day.) I really really want to use JEOPARDY games in my class as a review but I have not been able to successfully pull that off where all students learn/practice/benefit from the game. The activity I am attaching (I in no way deserve credit, I found it online) is GREAT! Students are in groups of 3. 1 moderator and 2 players. I will assign whoiswho. I usually have the strongest student out of the 3 be the moderator. I have the moderator come up and get the board, instruction sheet with the answers on the reserve side, two dice (or "number cubes" as we call them in Georgia), and a handful of two sided coins. The beauty of this activity is that I have the moderator read the instructions to their groupI rarely have questions, it is pretty self explanatory. The Game1. Decide who goes first by tossing a die. 2. The first player tosses both dice and locates the corresponding box on the game board. For example, if the player tosses a 3 and a 4, they may go to the 3rd row, 4th column, or the 4th row, 3rd column. 3. The player factors the problem and asks the moderator if he/she is correct. If the solution is correct, the player places his/her marker in that box. If the solution is incorrect, the other player can steal the box by giving the correct solution. 4. If a player tosses the dice and the box indicated is already occupied, the player rolls the dice again. 5. The winner is the player who has four of his/her game markers in a row(row, column, or diagonal).Materials NeededGame Board (I laminated my)Instruction Sheet with copy of answers on the back for moderator Two diceChips of two different colors (Georgia gave all high school teachers a box full of goodies)I also reserved this and made the answer sheet the game board and the game board the answer sheet to have my students play a game when we learned to multiply binomials with FOIL (I know some people dislike FOIL).If one group finished quickly, I will have them switch moderators and play again!Hope your students enjoy it as much as mine did!
Happy President's Day! Apparently I remember to post on holidays! In Fulton County we had Friday and today off. We had a school shooting threat on Thursday which meant in my 2 Math 3 Support classes I had 5 students in each classI opened their eyes to Dilbert and helped some study for their upcoming Math 3 Test. Thursday really felt like a teacher workday and I got a good bit of stuff completed. Nothing happened on Thursday and honestly with all the police and undercover detectives (used very loosely since we all could tell who was undercover) I have never felt safer. On to the post... Georgia introduced Math Support classes during the 20082009 school year. These classes are meant to be an extra period of "support" for students who struggle with the material in their gened math courses. The structure of the classes are typically open to each school. Some schools have students with the same teacher for their gened and support class, some have one specific teacher who teaches all the support, some have a mixture. It is only in its 4th year and schools are still experimenting with different approaches to the course. At my first teaching job I was on traditional block scheduling (kids had the same 4 classes for a semester and then switched) and only taught one Math 1 Support Class. I had some overlapping students in gened math and the support math. Which, I was okay with. It did mean those students spent half their day with me for a semester but fortunately, they were students I had a great relationship with. I was at a Title 1 at the time and all the students I had overlapping passed the EOCT and did great! When I moved to CHS this past fall, I knew I would have 2 sections of Math 3 Support. A big struggle with support classes is how do you engage students who probably get easily frustrated with math/do not like the subject? Instead of a final last semester, I broke the students up into groups of 35 and had them teach the class. I let them pick a topic that was covered in Math 3 and then I had to approve it. This gave the opportunity to redirect their choices into doable topics. For example, a group choose matrices and I had them narrow it down to finding the dimensions and the determinant of a matrix. I had groups go over three 5minute classes periods. It went okay. The key is not to give too much class time and have assignments due every day. I learned that in the middle of the project. Also, next time I will require all groups to make a video lesson. I will attaching both the files/rubric and videos once I am back at school. These were fast to gradeI love rubrics! I do plan on editing this project and trying it on my 9th graders in May. I will break them into groups and then give them a list of topics that need to be revisited before 10th grade.
Happy Valentines Day! My students LOVED this activity that I found online last Friday. (The credit is on the first page of the activity!) There are four pages total. Print each page in a different color. Each page has either 12 equations in vertex form, 12 graphs, 12 axis of symmetry, or 12 vertexes. The goal is to match the aos, vertex, and graph to each equation. It is a great and FUN activity that students can work on together instead of writing the problems down. The different color paper helps students realize what information is missing. It is a quick 68 minute activity. This includes explanation and cleanup. I time each class to see who finish in the least amount of time. I used this is a warmup but it would also be a great summary tool at the end of class. Hope your students LOVE this as much as mine did!

Natalie Turbiville
Educator who loves math and working with students. Archives
May 2016
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