Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Project Based Learning

I think projects are a great way to learn and understand a concept.  Projects usually take a little time, and they allow the students to take ownership. 

This week, I am at the CAMT math conference in Houston, TX.  On Thursday, a colleague and I will be presenting a session on Projects in the classroom.  Throughout the years, we have come across some fun and interesting projects.  Under my "Goodies" tab, I have the links to my wikis which goes into detail for the projects I use.  Some projects have been borrowed and tweaked, and I have created some projects. 

This past year, I brought BizMovie into my classroom.  This is a great project that includes business, finance, and technology.  The kids create a movie production company.  They applied for the various positions in the company.  They must keep up with all the financial aspects that go along with running a business.  They use kerpoof to design an animated commercial and movie.  At the end of the project, I had my kids present their marketing campaign to other students.  We opened the box office, and the kids were able to "purchase" tickets to the movies they wanted to see.  We then showed the movies, and the kids were able to see if they made a good purchase.  It was GREAT!  The kids learned so much.  It is also great for team work.  A few groups wanted to fire a member for them not doing their job.  How much closer to real life can you get?  I will definitely be doing this project again!  Here are couple of links to the commercial and movie.

I really need another project that deals with 3d measurement.  Currently, I have the kids create a commercial that deals with a 3d figrure.  The commercial can either be selling their product (whatever they turn the figure into), or a movie promo like "Attack of the killer cubes".  They must discuss how to calculate volume and surface area of the figure.  I like this project, but I also need one in which the kids are actually using a 3d figure.  I am thinking about this:
  • the kids are assigned a 3d figure (the figures we discuss will all be assigned)
  • the object will be to create the figure using the materials I provide
  • Each material will have a different $ amount, and they will be allowed to be spend x amount of money
  • they will be assessed on durability, creativity, and the object must meet the criteria for the 3d figure
  • to add technology, they will do a write up on the class wiki that details the volume and surface area of the figure.  They will then create a qr code that will link to the wiki, and the qr code will be displayed with the figure. 
I am still working it out, and I haven't typed up the project info yet.  Hopefully, I will work the kinks out.

I think a project over similar figures would also be good.  Proportions are a difficult concept to grasp. 
For this, we could use life-size models of different objects, and the kids could scale it down or up and then create the object.  I am trying this out in my Percent Baseball digital menu board under "build it". 

Last year, I came across an activity using CSI math (this activity can be found at my middle school math wiki).  The kids created a perpetrator.  They had to draw it to scale.  This worked out pretty good, but I think an additional project would be good to help with similar figures. 

I think projects are great, and I am constantly adding to my project list.  Not all projects need to take a long time to complete.  I incorporate individual and partner projects in my class.  Hopefully, I will pick up some more projects at CAMT.  Maybe some of you did, as well!

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