Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Architecture and Area Project (Geometry)

Finally! I finished putting the final touches on my Architecture and Area project for Geometry.  My students completed this project for the first time back in March, but I was revising, reorganizing, and perfecting what I have so far.  There are so many extensions to this project, but I chose the ones I felt most suitable for my students.  Let me tell you more about this project (teacher resources at the bottom)...

Students work in pairs to build their own model home (physical model or digital model).  Not only do they use area formulas to calculate their square footage, but they also have to calculate how much it would cost to paint, tile, and carpet the home.  On top of that, I had my students do some algebra review by calculating the cost of their home, the selling price they desire, and finally the asking price.  Whew! 

Why I love this project:  The students were really into it.  Their reflections had nothing but awesome things to say about it such as, "This is the best thing we have done all year, and "I learned so much math I can actually use."  Students collaborated and I facilitated.  In fact, my goal was to see what would happen if I used a strictly constructivist approach with this project.  I did absolutely NO direct instruction.  I explained the project, gave them a few ideas and sent them on their way!  For two weeks of class they worked and I assisted when needed with guiding questions.  They did amazing!  I had students using trig to discover how to find the area of a regular octagon, using triangles and rectangles to derive a formula for trapezoids, and applying the circumference formula to find the area needed to paint a round wall!  I was blown away!

What I would do different:  I would use this project as a quarter project rather than a unit project and incorporate more concepts taught in Geometry.  For example, we used similarity in polygons and area, but you can apply so much more.  The chapters that could potentially be taught within this unit are trigonometry, similar triangles/polygons, area, surface area and volume, and quadrilaterals.  In addition, there is plenty of algebra review.

Overall, I loved seeing my students come to class with a smile, work hard for an hour each day, and leave with a plan.  We did no homework during this unit because they were so involved with their projects.  Here are some sample projects (you can find the project description, rubric, and student handouts in my TpT store.):

Sample Student Projects (the math)

The pictures:

Teacher Resources:
- Here is a list of web or iPad apps my students used to complete the project.  There were benefits of using the digital model and disadvantages.  I let students pick.  Digital is not as messy and is more cost effective; however, they did not get to actually work hands-on.  Some of the physical models, on the other hand, took a long time to build, taking away from calculation time.
  • FloorPlanner.com (my students' favorite, easy to share, easy to use, can use irregular figures)
  • Homestyler.com (easy to use, but some students had issues with their projects disappearing)
  • RoomPlanner (a free iPad app, but doesn't have too many features)
  • 3D Home Builder ($8 iPad app, my students liked this one, but I didn't see the benefit over the free web apps)
  • iBlueprint ($0.99, my fellow Geometry teacher had students using this, but none of my students used it)
- Direct Instruction?  I would challenge you to lead your students to the formulas for discovery rather than giving them the formulas.  It takes some patience and some great questioning to get them there, but it is rewarding to see the students get to the formulas themselves!  Also, they will remember how to derive them and use them rather than just memorizing another chapter.

- Quality of Work: To get the best quality of work, I had a panel of judges (teachers and administrators on campus).  On the due date we had all the projects from every Geometry class on campus in the same room.  We had the judges walk around with 3 tickets each (ended up being 5 because there were so many projects to vote on) and place tickets in cups of the projects they liked the best.  It had nothing to do with math, strictly design.  The winning team was treated to lunch by myself and the other Geometry teacher.  It was a great motive for students, knowing not only that their other teachers were going to be there, but that all of their friends were going to see their work as well.  Additionally, we had them create ads to sell their houses (not part of the project).  I had my students go onto Zillow.com to get an idea of a brief house description that would capture the judges' eyes.

- Have fun!  This project is so much fun if executed correctly.  Enjoy watching the learning happen!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Busy Bee

Busy Bee

I am working on new content, mostly Geometry projects.  I typically post as I complete them in my own class so slowly but surely they will appear!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pi Day Border Bundle

I am always excited as we approach March 14th, Pi Day!  In recognition of this day, I added Pi Day borders (or frames) that you can add to any activity you plan on doing that day in your classroom.  I am thinking that my entire school needs to be involved with Pi Day this year... reciting contest, eating contest... any ideas?

Download the Pi Border Bundle here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Creative Critters Geometry Project

Every year I complete a Geometry Project on Surface Area and Volume.  It is by far the students' favorite project of the year, and you will see why!  I will be uploading my past projects (see below) from students shortly so hang tight!  I love to see students' creativity come alive through this project!

Download the project description with mastery objective, timeline with dates to be filled in by the instructor, clear instructions for students, all worksheets needed to complete the project, and a detailed rubric for students here.

Here are some photos of sample projects. Click here for examples of student work.

Color Blobs Border Bundle

I did it! My first item is now posted to my TpT Store!  Check it out, download for free, and leave me feedback or suggest things in the comments here. :)

Thanks for checking it out!

Color Blobs Border Bundle 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ready to Dive in... I think!

I have been planning exactly how I want to launch my TpT store so much that I haven't done anything with it at all!  I am building content, but it is that fear of actually posting something that is getting me!  I want to do it right from the beginning.  I want to learn from others and hopefully not learn the hard way too much.  ;)  I have a few things, but I just have to get the confidence to click POST!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog Here, Blog There

I may not be sure how to start this blog up again but I am sure of one thing...

I have too many blogs!

Over the years I have had multiple blogs for multiple purposes.  There was the one when I studied abroad in college, the one for my wedding, the one for my new marriage, the one for my students at my old teaching job, the one for my marriage after we moved (and mobile me ended), the one for my daughter (her baby book), the one for educational technology I began in my masters program, and this one!  Whew!

So now I have the goal of using this blog for education purposes... ALL of them, from technology to math curriculum.  Back to the goal of this blog: connect, collaborate, communicate with other educators.  Yes, I will keep my daughter's blog, which is where I post about our day to day, but this is my 'professional' blog so to speak.  It might take some time for content to start flowing since I am currently on maternity leave... did I mention my daughter is only 7 weeks old?  She is a napping queen today so I was able to write and edit HTML like crazy this morning. 

So here I am, ready to blog again... in one place ... or two. :)

 Miss Natalie

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My First EdTech Milestone!

As we begin second semester, I have decided it is time to implement some of what I am learning in my masters program into my classroom. I revamped my school website and added some technology requirements for my students. I was nervous knowing many of my students might not have access to the internet, but fortunately we have a wonderful library with many computers available to students before and after school. I also offered my computer for students to use as long as they scheduled a time with me for lunch or after school.

Today was the first posts to our class blog. I was so excited to see what the students have come up with and am looking forward to what is to come! Here are the tech requirements I have set so far...

1) Scribe: Each student will be a scribe for our class one day each quarter. The scribe will record what we do from our objective to our key concepts and then post them onto our class blog. Other students may add to a post for extra credit or answer any questions the author had as well.

2) Chapter Review: Each student will answer one question from our chapter review on our class wiki. If a student corrects a mistake they can receive extra credit.

3) Resource: Each student will post one link, video, website, etc. that would be a relevant Algebra resource for them or their classmates onto our wiki once per quarter.

So far, I have had students post for their SCRIBE requirement and it is great to actually hear about what they are learning. It is amazing to see what actually gets through to them! (Sometimes in math it is hard to actually see this)

You can use the SCHOOL WEBSITE link to see some of my student's work! I know it is preliminary, but I was so proud of them for branching out and trying something new!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome to my blog

This being the first post to my educational blog, I just wanted to share a few ideas I have for this blog... but I am in no way certain where this might take me.

I am interested mostly in connecting, collaborating, and communicating with other educators. I hope to share my resources as well as my successes and not-so-much successes that I encounter as a teacher.

I believe that technology has a great impact in our classrooms and in our students' lives, and my hope is that this blog can support and encourage me as a teacher, educating myself on the wisdom of the greats before me.