On Friday, I posted this assignment in Edmodo for my math students.
I didn’t help them much more than this. I did show them a site where they could make a line graph. I also said there might be sites that would help them with a box-and-whisker plot. So why did I not give much assistance?
Well, if I stood at the front of the room and told the kids how to do it, they would be able to regurgitate it and do well. Would they have a full understanding of the information? Possibly. They worked diligently during the class period. They were not able to complete the assignment and will continue working on Monday. I asked a student Friday afternoon if she enjoyed working in math in this way and she was very excited. She had a huge smile on her face and said yes. I also shared that I would like to do more math lessons like that and she went skipping across the lunch room to other students and shared that information with them. They were excited!
When we give students the chance to explore information for themselves and learn, they enjoy it. Also, you may be thinking that I can’t teach this way because I’m not going to be teaching. Well, first, I didn’t just sit in the corner and ignore them. I walked around the room and asked them what they had found. Some students were confused when finding the range of the low temperatures because it included negative numbers. I helped them and we looked at why we were actually adding the numbers when subtracting a positive and a negative.
I also sat and looked through the 5th grade standards (I teach grade 5-8). I hit 15 standards in the 5th grade curriculum. FIFTEEN!!! Would they have 100% accuracy if I presenting the information to them in a different way on those standards? Probably not, but they will be seeing those standards being hit in another lesson set up this way.
Students enjoy hands on and working. They do projects in other classes in the school, why not math? Will I have to put more into my teaching? Yes. Will I have to do more planning? Yes. Am I willing to do it? Yes! I can’t wait until I put together the next lesson and we get started on it!