Alternative Math Class Curriculum?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TxMaThTeAcHeR, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. TxMaThTeAcHeR

    TxMaThTeAcHeR Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Hi guys!
    So I got a new job working as a math teacher (the ONLY math teacher :) ) at an alternative high school. For two of the classes, I basically get to design my own curriculum around the MN standards. I really want to kind of do some project based, but real world lessons... stuff that is going to apply to the students real lives... probably taking a week or two for each lesson. Does anyone have any creative ideas I can use? Stuff like using origami to relate to geometry, credit cards to relate to interest... stuff like that, and that they can be tested over also. I would love some input. Thanks guys!!!
     
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  3. geoCAD

    geoCAD Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2010

    This is a great question! I too am in the EXACT same position as you... new high school, at-risk students, the only math teacher. I posted a similar request for suggestions however I want to incorporate more technology to use as the motivator.

    I need to keep an eye on this post!!

    ~G
     
  4. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2010

    Ok - I don't teach math but our math teachers use PBL a lot. I can only give you the projects that they do and not the particulars. The kids love these projects and they seem to be very successful in both instruction and teaching the role of math in everyday applications.

    * re-designing a car wash - the idea behind this project is to create specifc stall for car sizes to conserve water and energy. I think this projects involves finding averages, finding area, something about PSI, and probably lots of other math I can't think of.

    *t-shirts - designing a class room t-shirt. Math concepts, design area, calculating price for profit,

    *fence company - geometery concepts, area, linear measurments, angles

    Just a few, hope this helps or at least get your own creative juices going :)
     
  5. geoCAD

    geoCAD Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I just thought of one of my last projects. As math teachers we need to constantly assess the progress through verbal and written work.

    I thought it would be fun for my students (I was wrong but it helped me figure out who really understood the question) to turn a word problem in to a written example problem. I instructed my students to think of everything that goes in to answering the question and write it down in a step by step process. They were instructed to write in the margins their reasons for each step. For example a student might write, 'we can multiply by the reciprical to get the variable by itself because dividing by a number is the same as multiplying by the reciprical.'

    The goal for the students was for them to be able to 'teach' how to work out the problem to someone who has never seen a question like it. My goal was to have the students learn through teaching using verbal and written skills.

    A similar project I plan to implement next month uses the same idea however the students are going to make a short video clip of them teaching and demonstrating how to solve a specific problem. I like the idea of having a student led video library of examples worked out AND a notebook of example problems written and worked out completely by students only.
     
  6. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I forgot the most important part of PBL, the presentation. Each one of the projects used is treated like a real company and the final part of the project is the "pitch" to the group. So the presentation also becomes part of the learning as way to present project, who does what part of the project, learning to work in a cooperative learning group, etc. . .
     
  7. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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  8. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jul 27, 2010

    We had to do something with drunk driving- graphing and everything the ages of those who were killed through drunk driving accidents or something like that I cannot really remember.
    We also did a whole thing about would it be better to buy or lease a car and we did online research to come up with the figures and then presented our findings. These were projects we did in high school which were applicable to everyday life and a great lesson to learn.
     
  9. TxMaThTeAcHeR

    TxMaThTeAcHeR Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2010

    These all sound like great ideas :) I am teaching kids who reallly don't want to be in school in the first place, and 1/4 of them are ELL kids who don't know english very well :) The class business sounds like a super idea Waterfall... have you ever done anything like that before?
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 27, 2010

    I worked in the heart of one of the worst neighborhoods in one of this country's most violent cities. My best lessons include:

    Soda cans
    M&M's
    Playing cards
    Dominoes
    String
    random round things

    My most successful motivator required nothing but a jar and some marbles

    You don't need fancy technology to motivate kids. You need to know them and what their lives are like. You need to understand what makes them tick. If you can relate your lessons to their lives, you can motivate them. If you can't relate to them, then all the technology in the world isn't going to help you.

    Give me an empty room, something to write on, and something to write with, and I can teach, and lead students to care about what I'm teaching. Technology is great, but not strictly necessary.
     

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