Google+ Badge

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Signature Event: Math Project/Problem Based Learning

I have designed many signature learning events with colleagues and students. Though many of the events are not original as they are events hosted in schools far and wide, these memorable events, however, are rich learning experiences that lay the foundation for future, meaningful learning efforts and success.

Over my tenure, some of the events that have been most significant and memorable include the following:
All of these events have a number of elements in common including these:
  • collegial and student collaboration
  • significant amount of time
  • scaffolded efforts and expectations
  • student voice and choice
  • worthy content and process foundation
  • meaningful, developmentally appropriate, and interesting to students and teachers
  • presentation and celebration
In every one of these events, educators and students worked together with lead time to plan the event. All the events had loose-tight frameworks which meant there were guiding principles, yet room for change and revision as needed. The events took on a life of their own as they moved from the starting, introductory phase to completion. Families, colleagues, and even the greater community at times were involved in the events.

At this point, I want to create a rich math problem/project based learning event. For this event, I want to include the following:
  • Expected grade-level standards
  • The Standards of Mathematical Practice (SMPs)
  • Collaboration and Team
  • Scaffolded efforts and expectations
  • Hands-on, multi-modal learning modules
  • Meaning, Relevance, and High Interest
  • Presentation and Celebration
An event like this, similar to the events mentioned above, will take on a life of its own. Math will move from its mostly 2D life in the elementary school to a rich, interdisciplinary, 3D experience--the kind of learning that keeps students coming back for more. 

I'm on the look out for a theme and models for this work. I want the unit to be rich and meaningful. I hope to embed this into my work next year. Any ideas?