One of my favorite things about teaching is showing my students how what we cover in class is used the real world-other 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 Pre-Algebra 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 one-story 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 check-points 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.
Pictures are on my personal computer. I will update from home!
Educator who loves math and working with students.