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Home : 2004 : Feb : 14

    By bmont

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    I teach 8th grade and we have our students do independent study projects. They pick their own topic and have to relate it to math in some way. For example, some students find the cost to build their dream house, research the math involved in their favorite sport, build scale models of different buildings using proportions... It is totally open ended and they get to do whatever they want. The projects are amazing. We conference with the students along the way, providing more structure to the students who need it. We want them to pick something they'll enjoy working on... which is like science fair. You could create a list of sample topics, and also allow them to see what they can come up with.

    You topics could also be more contenet specific like "Fractions and their use in the World" (measuring cups, etc) and have students find examples around a math topic or they could pick something they like, Dancing for example, and calculate the cost for running a recital (renting out a venue, ordering costumes out of a catalogue, contacting a local dance teacher for interviews...)

    What's amazing is that students differentiate the learning for themselves. Your higher order thinking students will typically pick something deeper and run with it, and the lower end students can do something more concrete and less involved.

    I am not sure how this would work for you & your 4th and 5th graders, but we really enjoy this open-ended type project.

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