Friday, March 29, 2013

Real Life Math & Other Enrichment Activities

This year I have been struggling with ways to make Math more engaging and relevant for my gifted learners.  Each year, I am assigned an enrichment group of advanced learners and the goal is to provide practice. I have noticed that my learners struggle with several concepts in spite of being at the top of their grade level. The drill and skill approach is not sufficient and worksheets are not going to cut it either. That's when I came to the conclusion that they needed to explore concepts and apply what they have learned to real life settings. The more I looked at the situation, the more sense projects made.  Thankfully, with the help of my PLN I have come across several resources to help me transition to projects and better manage them in my class. Now instead of feeding information to my students, they are solving problems through trial and error, communicating with each other on the best strategies to reach a conclusion or solution, and most importantly, making sense of and even justifying what they are learning. Below are some projects we have completed throughout this year. I encourage you to share your best projects- I'm always open to more ideas and appreciate your feedback!

Decimal Designs 
When we looked at decimals and the relationship between fractions and decimals being part of a whole, my students created these decimal designs. While some students created a pattern, others created illustrations. I think it's important to incorporate a creative component to projects and took it a step further by having students create a title for their designs. This lesson was adapted from the Georgia Common Core Performance Standards Decimals Unit.


Math Movies 
 To demonstrate their understanding of place value, my students created these videos. They were responsible for organizing their movie using a storyboard and create their own props to convey their message. I especially like the use of videos in the classroom because students are able to apply writing and other communication skills to teach a concept. They also need to know the concept well enough to create an example to include in their explanations. From place value fortune tellers to a place value rap, my students got very creative with their videos!

It's a Math Party! 
To apply estimation and computation skills, students planned a themed party.  After selecting a theme (not associated with a particular holiday), students created an itemized list to cover food/snacks, plates, cups, other utensils as well as items for goody bags. Students were given a budget of $100 and carefully selected items that would be appropriate for their themed party. Some examples of themes that groups selected included: A Disco Party, a picnic, and a Paris Sweet Shoppe. Students found items for their goody bags from Oriental Trading Company, while food items were purchased at a local grocery store.  The group that collaborated as a team (i.e. distributed tasks evenly and were actively engaged throughout the planning) and that created the most detailed itemized list (with the closest estimations) was selected. Thanks to our school's PTA, our project was funded and students were able to see their party come to life! 

Day Out 
Sample Plan 
Another project that involves estimations and computation skills, is the Day Out Project.  This project  began with a sample problem from the Georgia Common Core Performance Standards Decimals Unit. After students figured out how to solve a word problem that involved a field trip, I had them plan their own field trips in groups. My criteria involved having them plan three types of trips: 1) a local, in-state option, 2) a moderately priced, out-of-state option, and 3) a dream trip abroad. This allowed them to explore the money and planning required for each type of trip (i.e. district bus mileage vs. charter bus prices). It was interesting to see the options they chose and figure out what information applied to each situation or trip that they were planning. As a culminating activity, students displayed their plan on posters and will record their presentations. As a class we will vote for the top three choices (we are realistic that our dream trip is not feasible for this school year) and send our videos to our principal in hopes that she will approve our trip. Wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mrs. Deyamport. My name is Katlyn and I am a junior at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. A few weeks ago, I left a comment on your post " Research Meets Podcast." I am back again! I love reading your posts because they are so inspirational and they encourage me to want to become the very best teacher that I can be. I love when you said "The drill and skill approach is not sufficient and worksheets are not going to cut it either." That is so true! I also love how you give your students the opportunity to learn with hands on projects. All of these projects look so fun and engaging at the same time. These are great ideas and I am so glad you have shared them! I'm sure your students loved this!