Monday, August 8, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust: Projects in Math Class

Why Projects in Math Class!?
… because they can help with ...

  • student reasoning
  • problem-solving
  • communication
  • making connections to real world situations
  • in-depth understanding of concepts
  • reaching students’ through their strengths
Over the past few years we did a few projects in Algebra. I chose to think of them as "mini" projects. I've organized notes on some of them here.

Linear Functions/Systems

These four projects are ones I did several years ago.  I don't have references for where I found the ideas.  If they are yours, please let me know!  I try to give credit where it is due.

Fairy Tale  (borrowed here!)

Absolute Value Project

Students ask 25 people a question that has a numerical answer. The question should evoke responses above and below the actual answer. Then they create a graph of the responses, analyze their graph, and illustrate their poster. My students put their work in Google slides. I found this idea on H. Kohn's blog. I posted my students' work on my blog.

Quadratic Function Projects

Idea 1: Students had to find pictures of 3 "real-life" items that resemble parabolas. They were encouraged to take pictures in their homes or as they were going about. If they could not find parabolas in the world around them, they could find pictures on the Internet. In just a sentence or two, they were asked to explain the vertex and the x-intercepts. They received additional points for finding "happy" parabolas (concave up). Here is a blog post illustrating just a bit of their work.

Idea 2: Birthday Parabola ... Students use the date of their birthday for the parameters a, b, and c in the general quadratic formula. For example, if a student's birthday is February 12, 2002, his equation would be 2x^2 + 12x + 2. Students graph the parabola, label the key attributes, and decorate the page with their interests. This idea is adapted from The Secondary Classroom Can Be Fun blog.

Exponential Functions

I asked students to choose from four video stories and then create a 1 page “poster” about the problem.  Students include a table of values, a graph, and art to illustrate the problem.  Here is a link to the exponential "stories."

Explore Math

This idea came from Sam Shah who created an excellent website for his students and their explorations. I borrowed from his work, limiting the ideas to just four. You can read about the project here. Other resources for this project can be found here.

Rational Functions

We introduce rational functions with a spaghetti lab that illustrates a cantilever. Since students were not familiar with the term, I created a mini project. I asked students to find an interesting example of a cantilever. I created template Google slides. Students put their fascinating find on a slide with the link to the picture and a short blurb about the cantilever. You can see their slides here.

Data Project

I asked students to find data, analyze it, and present it to the class.  I gave them three scenarios from which to choose.  In each scenario students collected 10 years of data in four areas and making recommendations/decisions using that data for support.  The details of the project are on this blog post.

Desmos Art Project

In the beginning of the last marking period I assign a Desmos Art Project.  Students create art using the functions we have studied and any they want to research.  The project has an emphasis on transformations and domain and range.  The art cannot be centered on the axis.  That forces students to use transformations.  And their graphs have to be limited to make art - which emphasizes understanding domain and range.  Here are some posts I've written on this project ... project description  examples of their art

What projects do you do in class?  Leave a link to your blog about projects in the comments, please?

1 comment:

  1. Beth, thanks for taking the time to organize and share these with us!