By Guest Blogger and Curriki Member Lani deGuia
The months before summer break often fall into the similar pattern of finishing up the year’s curriculum, preparing for standardized testing, and trying to keep students engaged through to the last day of school. These may appear as three separate feats, but it can be effective to develop activities that address all three at once. Here are several lessons and projects that involve collaborative learning and critical thinking. They can help with reviewing past material, applying curriculum to real-world problems, and maintaining student interest.
Capitalize on What Students Are Focused On
Why not start with what students may already be thinking about? Summer vacation. Planning a family road trip http://www.curriki.org/oer/Planning-a-Family-Road-Trip–Ratios-and-Proportions-in-Real-Life/ can be an effective scenario to practice applications of ratios and proportions. A weekend vacation project http://www.curriki.org/oer/Weekend-Vacation-Project/ can teach students about the finance concerns of a small trip and teach about staying within a budget.
Provide Activities Tied to the Real World
Sometimes students will understand the applications and purpose of math concepts when they are connected to real world experiences. The Museum Exhibit Project http://www.curriki.org/oer/Museum-Exhibit-Project–A-3-Dimensional-Outcome-to-Research-Activitites-41917/ gives students the opportunity for alternative research in curating inclusions for a museum exhibit. They’ll further use Google Sketchup to create a 3 dimensional representation of the exhibit based off of their understanding of geometry. Architectural Planning with Pythagoras http://www.curriki.org/oer/Architectural-Planning-with-Pythagoras-63614 will have students utilize their knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem to help design a shelter for survival on a deserted island. In Real World Percentages: How Much Will It Take? http://www.curriki.org/oer/Percentages-Project/, students will get to examine the reality of having an income in the future and how it will influence the purchase of a car, the cost of a home, furnishing a home, etc. In Farmer’s Market http://www.curriki.org/oer/Unit-1-Project-Farmer’s-Market, students will relate business costs to algebraic expressions.
Turn Abstract Concepts into Creative Endeavors
The Cereal Project Lesson Plan http://www.curriki.org/oer/Cereal-Box-Project-Lesson-Plan-48182/ allows students to use their creativity to custom “design” their own cereal while applying fractions, ratios, and percentages. The Four Fours Project http://www.curriki.org/oer/Four-Fours-Project-Lesson-Plan-48168/ teaches students the order of operations through art design. Divide and Conquer—Warm Up, Searching for the token http://www.curriki.org/oer/Google-Divide-and-Conquer—Warm-Up-Searching-for-the-token engages students in a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy to solve the mystery of “stolen crystals” using decomposition to break the problem into smaller problems and algorithmic design to plan a solution strategy.
Don’t Forget About the Olympics This Summer
Proportional Reasoning: Lesson on Your Mark http://www.curriki.org/oer/Proportional-Reasoning-Lesson-On-Your-Mark/ will get students thinking about whether Olympic distant runners should run distances based on their personal heights. Unit 4 Project: Olympics http://www.curriki.org/oer/Unit-4-Project-Olympics/ gets students to apply algebraic expressions, inequalities, and systems of equations to sports.
However you need to close out the school year, remember it is possible to ensure you still provide valuable, interesting, and worthwhile instruction for all.