Using relevant and meaningful problems

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Using relevant and meaningful problems to engage learners in mathematical content:

Using relevant and meaningful problems to engage learners in mathematical content By: Jacquelyn LIchatin

Artifact: Soccer Game Snack Problem:

Artifact: Soccer Game Snack Problem “It was a beautiful day for a soccer game at Westbrook Elementary school. The Westbrook Lions were ready to win! It was Kevin’s moms turn to bring the whole team snacks. She brought 31 snacks for the team. Freddy’s mom thought it was her turn to bring snacks for the team also. She brought 22 snacks for the team. In all, how many snacks did the Westbrook Lions get to enjoy that day at their game?”

Artifact: Soccer Game Snack Problem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6BDNRoFvuk:

Artifact: Soccer Game Snack Problem http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =S6BDNRoFvuk

Soccer Game Snack Problem:

Soccer Game Snack Problem This week my students were taking word problems and changing them into equations and then solving them. The group that I pulled was having some trouble coming up with the equations after being given a word problem. When math can relate to a student’s life, the student is more likely to engage with the material. I knew which group I would be working with and I knew that the boys in the group played for the Westbrook Lions and that the girls in the group had been to the games or had siblings who played for the team. I took the opportunity to create a word problem based on their Elementary School soccer team. The students in my group were not intimidated by this problem because they saw the real life connection to their own lives. This situation could arise any day at one of their soccer games and I felt like they saw it as a problem they could tackle.

Artifact #2: Creating a bar graph based on student responses concerning a class prize:

Artifact #2: Creating a bar graph based on student responses concerning a class prize

Creating a bar graph based on student responses concerning a class prize:

Creating a bar graph based on student responses concerning a class prize Students earned enough points in our class to win a class prize. My mentor teacher and I came up with five different options of class prizes consisting of a read-a-thon, extra recess, a lunch bunch, a movie, and a donut party. I set up the frame of a bar graph at the back table. I included a title, labels, and the categories along the bottom. I called students up by table to place a tile in the column of the class prize they preferred. After everyone in the class had added their tile, I had all of the students make a semi-circle at the bar graph we had just created. I called on volunteers to identify the different parts of a bar graph and we talked about what made it a bar graph. Students were also definitely excited to see which option had won for their class prize. There was noticeably higher participation for this exercise and I think it was due to the fact that the bar graph was meaningful to the students. Their interest in the class prize heightened the math lesson for that day because it pertained to their classroom and a reward they would eventually receive. It was supposed to be a simple lesson on bar graphs but it turned into a memorable experience for each student.

Investigates how and where to access resources for generating relevant contexts from interdisciplinary themes:

Investigates how and where to access resources for generating relevant contexts from interdisciplinary themes

Artifact: Math by the Month:

Artifact: Math by the Month

Investigates how and where to access resources for generating relevant contexts from interdisciplinary themes:

Investigates how and where to access resources for generating relevant contexts from interdisciplinary themes Math by the Month is a great resource that includes math and other subject areas. Each month the students are given around 4 different problems to work on. The problems include interdisciplinary themes. (Ex: Art, Science, Environmental Science) This resource blew me away with all of the interesting and hands on activities it includes. Students are required to think like mathematicians because there is not one correct answer. Students who are not strong math students could benefit from this resource because they won’t feel as much pressure to get the “correct answer.” They might not even realize that what they are doing is thinking mathematically! When I am in full take over next semester, I would love to incorporate these into my class’s math routine. I found the “going green” math by the month the most interesting because it incorporates math along with promoting environmentally friendly behavior.

Investigates criteria for selecting and creating problematic tasks:

Investigates criteria for selecting and creating problematic tasks

Investigates criteria for selecting and creating problematic tasks:

Investigates criteria for selecting and creating problematic tasks Our textbook talks about relevant contexts in Chapter three. The text compares two different introductions to the same lesson about ratios. One introduction is very straightforward and tells the students exactly what they are going to be learning about. The second example introduces ratios in a way that gets the students excited to learn. The second example says that the class is going to compare their heights and widths to Hagrids, a character from Harry Potter. The teacher who took the second approach did a great job presenting his or her students with a relevant context for learning. Most sixth graders love Harry Potter or are familiar with the story. After reading these two examples, I learned that creating a problem that hooks students from the start is a great way to have students engage with the material throughout a lesson. Relevant context for students could also include the integration of other subject areas. Incorporating children’s literature into a math lesson can engage students in learning mathematics because children’s literature can relate to student’s experiences and activate their imaginations.

Values the need for authentic context in learning and applying mathematics:

Values the need for authentic context in learning and applying mathematics

Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover:

Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover This video really changed my perspective about math in general. It did focus on high school math but I can see its importance and how it could be useful for teaching any age. Dan Meyer believes in patient problem solving and mathematical reasoning. In today’s day and age students are used to getting a problem set all at once including textbook steps, a textbook picture, and possibly a textbook graph. These types of problems usually have one correct answer. Dan Meyer wants to throw all of this out the window and start looking at math from a different perspective. His perspective is one that I agree with and he believes that teachers should start teaching math as an exploration rather than trying to follow a preset formula. A really great point he made is that since our technology allows us to do so much, we should take advantage of it and start using our own pictures and videos in math class when presenting students with a problem. Using real life footage can help students see the real life relevance of a math problem. If we start teaching with these values, students who used to think they weren’t mathematical thinkers will begin to get involved because they won’t feel intimidated to join the conversation. The benefits of turning the subject of math inside out are endless for students at any age.

PowerPoint Presentation:

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill” -Albert Einstein The End 

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