Sunday, April 22, 2012

Students' "Khan" Project

To teach is to learn.

That's what students will do this week as they create their own Khan-like videos.

I just worked on my own example for a couple of hours--it's not as easy as it looks as it takes time to choose the best language and models to explain your thinking.

Tomorrow or the next day, I'll show a Khan video related to equivalent fractions and I'll share my video draft too.  My video is not finalized yet because I made one mathematical error during the process. I'm going to show the film with the error to give students a chance to find it--they love finding my errors.  I'll also give students a critique sheet to fill out as they watch my video.  Then we'll discuss what would have made my video stronger, and the steps to creating their own fraction videos.

Students will work in teams to compare two fractions. Using models and words students are required to do the following:
  1. Using a draft template students will explain which fraction is greater or if the fractions are equivalent. They'll also prove their point using fraction models, a number line and words. (Fraction pairs will serve to differentiate the assignment.)
  2. They will meet with a teacher to edit their draft.
  3. After that, they'll create a short video that teaches their lesson using Quicktime screen recording, Photobooth or iMovie.
  4. Finally they will share their video with the class. 
Sometime during the process, I'll edit and correct my film and reshow it to the students to model the revision process.  

Creating "Khan" like math movies will develop students' understanding of fractions and also give them a greater ability to access and use Khan's and other similar videos as a learning resource.

Have you tried this project?  If so, let me know how it worked.  Also let me know if you have any suggestions for the students or me.  

This is a fun part of teaching, don't you agree?

Project Update
Since I found the time, I corrected the error and published both videos for students' reference and critique.  Here are the links:
Ms. Devlin's Equivalent Fraction Movie
Ms. Devlin's Simplifying Fractions Movie

Khan's Simplifying Fractions Video
Khan's Equivalent Fraction Video


  1. Hi Maureen,

    Love this lesson idea! I especially love that students are being required to draw models and provide reasoning behind the models. Developing conceptual understanding, which is lacking in most Khan videos, is a cornerstone of creating mathematical thinkers. Your activity will help students deepen their conceptual knowledge of fractions and how they compare to each other. This activity also has the potential to provide a very strong foundation that can be used to make more mathematical connections to future learning.

    A suggestion for extending the activity: After student's complete their videos, have them evaluate the various methods used for efficiency. --- Which methods were most efficient and why?

  2. Kristi, Thanks for your helpful and affirming comments. I'm going to add the two model videos I made. If you have the chance to view them and add your thoughts, I'd appreciate it. I'll add them to the bottom of the post later tonight.

  3. Cool,

    this is exactly the type of thing I do with my grade 6 Maths class. We have created fraction videos, number property videos and instructional videos on how to calculate equations. I much prefer doing these lessons rather than using Khan videos. I also get the students to post their videos online so other students can use them and then get the kids on comment on each others videos giving constructive feedback.
    I am convinced this is a better learning experience for the students and would like to see some comparison of my students results as opposed to those students who do plug and chug type maths lessons.

  4. Hi Geoff, Thanks for commenting. I'm glad to hear that you're doing the same thing. I have another colleague, Mr. O., who tried the project earlier in the year. I'm sure we'll be in contact again as we compare notes on this type of invigorating teaching. Thanks for the affirmation. - Maureen


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