Thursday, May 31, 2012

End of year projects, Part 2

The projects have begun! I gave them way too many options, but I really wanted to make sure that everyone could work on something that was genuinely interesting to them. I made a big deal of how the quality is way more important than the quantity, that I am looking for deep engagement with the topic, thoughtful work, and clear explanations. After two days, everyone is still working on the original project they chose and seems engaged and on task. The challenge for me, as usual, is how to push kids past their frustration or a "stuck" point without helping too much.

The most popular project has been "Squared Rectangles," just like last year, which I adapted from the Exeter problem sets. Here's one sample (they need to figure out five of these, which get progressively harder):
Squared Rectangles

They enjoy these a lot, and there's some nice algebraic thinking that comes into play, but it doesn't seem "projecty" enough... there's not really a conclusion to reach, and I don't know that it really pushes them enough out of the box because there's a set method to working them out. In the future, I might just add these to my "puzzle" center that's available to kids throughout the year and call it a day. But maybe they will wow me with their presentation and convince me of their value.

All of the other projects that were picked by kids are adaptations from IMP Year 1 and Year 2 Problems of the Week (Project #1, Project #3, Project #4) . There is also a group making a video about factoring. 

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