Saturday, May 12, 2012

Project-Based Learning in the Math Class

Math can be one of the most challenging subjects for students.  We recently have been learning about Transformations in math.  This part of the curriculum involves teaching students about how to slide, rotate, and reflect objects on a cartesian plane.  Several students have been experiencing challenges with rotations of objects, particularly what is referred to as "Successive Rotations".  Their discontent with this part of our unit led me to consider putting a project together for them.

Students were divided into groups of 4, with one student appointed as the "leader".  The leader's role is to ensure students are on task and that everyone (including him/her) have been assigned a portion of the work for their project.  "What is the project" you ask?  The project involves having groups work on a particular lesson in our Transformation unit, putting together notes and a mini-quiz that will aid peers in understanding that portion of the unit better.  While working on developing their notes on laptops, I've been roving the class and facilitating individual groups with getting a handle on the content.   Once the notes have been compiled (mostly using Power Point), they will be uploaded to our class wiki for everyone to view (in French because we are a French Immersion program).  I will then resume teaching the lessons to the class which will then be placed into new groupings.  The new groups will be comprised of students representing every lesson I will be teaching.  They will act as facilitators in their groups, assisting peers with understanding the lessons better.

Generally, students have been responding positively to this approach.  They feel their work has an important purpose in better educating their peers on math topics we will be covering.   In addition to assisting their own peers, this work will have the potential to aid other students all over the world who might be learning about Transformations in French as they will be viewable on our wiki.   They also like the fact they are using Power Point and images from the internet to add more creativity to their lessons.

I am eager to view their notes and see how the new groupings will function while I am teaching the lessons in class.