Friday, July 5, 2013

Math is Everywhere Project

So in my last post I talked about how I 'came up with' the Math Is Everywhere Project. If you haven't read it, you may want to read it first: The Hunch Punch I do want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. Although, I had a 'hunch,' without Todd Nesloney's post and twitter, I never would have gone through with the idea.

Here's some quick background on the project. I decided to implement it with a month left in the school year. However, the students really would only have three weeks to work on the entire project so I based my parameters off of the time frame that the students had to work with.

I titled the project "Math Is Everywhere" (MIE) and named the culminating event The Math is Everywhere Fair (I thought it had a nice ring to it :) The concept was easy. Pick anything that you're passionate about and find at least three ways math is connected to the topic. When I gave them a few ideas, their eyes got wider, their hands shot up and I knew I had them hooked... Every topic they suggested I answered, "Yes, Math is everywhere!"

One Direction???
McDonalds and Burger King??????

Yes, Math Is Everywhere! However I did want the students to get their project approved by their parents before I approved it and this approval was a part of their grade.

Project Basics:
Please refer to the document below for the basics of the project. 

Student Blogging: 
Around the same time that I decided to do the MIE project, I decided to take the leap and introduce blogging to my students. Not only did I want my students to blog or have some written portion of their project, but even more importantly, I wanted the students to read and offer suggestions or comments on their classmates' blogs. I required each student to write three blog posts and comment on three  posts although many students commented on more than three of their classmates' blogs.

Here are the directions for each blog entry.
Part 1-

Part 2-

Part 3-

In the end, the students did an amazing job! I teach 52 fifth graders and EVERY student completed a project. This project reminds me so much of the Genius Hour projects that so many teachers are doing, and if I'm honest with myself, this was the first time all year that my students truly took ownership of their learning. The day after I introduced the project, one of my students brought in his ENTIRE outfit that he wanted to present in. I reminded him that he didn't have to present for three weeks, but he wanted me to keep it in the classroom, just so he didn't forget it! (I think a few teachers wondered why I had a random four wheeler outfit and helmet in my room, but no one asked :)

Other students, especially ones who were typically hard to motivate, would update me of their project daily. It was so great to see their motivation, especially at the end of the school year. The great thing about this project was that it really didn't take much time during class. I would remind the students when their blogs were due and would periodically check if the students had bought their boards and if they had any questions, but that was really it. It was the first time that I EVER did a project that was solely to be completed at home. I know that some of the students got help from their parents, but the students were graded more on the content and oral presentation than on the visual presentation (although there was a visual presentation component.)

Here's the rubric that I used:

Ok, enough writing. Here's a video I put together of most of the students' projects. Notice how proud they are! :)  And, I'd like to apologize in advance if the song gets stuck in your head!
(Song: "Math Is Everywhere" by the Rappin' Mathematician)

The great part about this project is that the student presentations were only part of the entire project. The Math Is Everywhere Fair was even more exciting AND it was on the second to last day of school! I will write about this event in my next post. I was so proud of the students and I would recommend doing this project in the future. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or contact me on Twitter: @ArinKress.

Thanks for reading!

Lesson #13:  You don't know how high your students can jump until you raise the bar!

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