Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Amazing Math Race

I always have a six weeks project.  Four years ago, I was thinking of what project I could do for the fifth six weeks.  I had shown a few clips for CBS' Amazing Race during the year.  Of course these clips held mathematical content.  The class said it would be fun to do an Amazing Race, so the project was created.

The race has five questions with five events/obstacles.  It even has a detour and a roadblock.    The race features one question from the five categories:

Pythagorean Theorem

We go outside during the class and they perform my race (in groups of 3-4).  They have a blast!  They are answering math questions, being outside, and performing tasks.  They don't even look at is as being work.

Only one member can use his/her legs to go to the question.

Blowing bubbles

Measuring diameter

Pythagorean Theorem
I allow each group to have:
dry erase board with a marker
formula chart

Once they solve the question, they bring me the answer on the board.  I must be able to see the work, and the label (if any) must be correct.  I have flags set up for each question.  They must go to that flag to work or rework the problem.  Once they are correct, they get to complete the event.  It always goes very smoothly, and the competitive nature comes out.

I have each question printed on cardstock and laminated.  I have used the same questions since I started this four years ago!  I have enough questions for each group.  For my race, here are the items you will need in addition to the questions.
dowel rods, string and tape measure
hula hoops and measuring stick

Event flags (laminated and hot glued)

bubbles and bubble gum

After they complete my race, I give them the information sheet they need in order to create their own race.  They may work in groups of 3-4.  They must have five questions and five events.  It takes about two days to make it through all the groups. By the time we are done, the kids have answered 30-42 questions.  It is great, and we get to spend some time outside!

Here is the criteria:

The objectives of this project are to:
(1) help students better understand mathematical concepts and formulas by applying them in a fun and dramatic setting
(2) integrate math with competition and kinesthetics, providing students with the opportunity to utilize both their cognitive and creative abilities
(3) provide a motivational strategy that will encourage an appreciation for mathematics

The obstacle course must:

have 5 events and questions

feature the following mathematical concepts

  • Measurement
  • Probability/Statistics
  • Percent
  • Pythagorean Theorem
  • Proportions

feature the following obstacles

  • Road Block: A task in which only one team member can complete
  • Detour: A choice between two tasks, relating to the same concept
  • be contained to the “race area” and able to be performed

The questions must:

  • Be written one per page (enough pages for each group)
  • Have a solution provided to your teacher
  • Feature the mathematical concepts listed above

Here are some pictures from student created races.

If you would like the complete race, you can get it at my store.

The kids will enjoy it, and they are learning!

Happy racing!

1 comment:

  1. Love this idea. Are there particular clips that you use for the CBS portion? I looked for some but don't regularly watch the show. Thanks for sharing!