Thursday, February 12, 2015

A flex group project - Math & PAA go hand in hand!

The mathematics core area at Campbell Collegiate has created flexible math classes that allow students to build skills and strengthen understanding of concepts in key areas. Kelly Frizzell, learning resource and grade nine math teacher, has been working closely with a small group of students.  As the math core met during their collaboration time, Kelly shared that she wanted to engage her students by allowing them to do a hands on project where they could apply some of their mathematical skills in constructing or creating a project.  Kelly met with Instructional Consultant Monique Bowes as well as with Joni Darke, Middle Years PAA coordinator, to come up with a plan.

Kelly, Joni and Monique reviewed the various options that would be align with the grade nine math curriculum.  There were a number of projects that were considered, however, because it was nearly Christmas time, and the students were learning about surface area of prisms and of composite figures (SS9.2, SS9.3), they created a project that would have students design gingerbread houses while calculating the perimeter, surface area of individual pieces, and surface area of the entire house and yard. In addition to this, they would be required to calculate the surface area of the various additions to the house (graham wafers, m&m's, marshmallows) to determine how many of each piece they would require.

Step 1: Kelly pre-taught some of the concepts leading up to the creation of the gingerbread house. Students reviewed how to calculate perimeter and surface area and did a variety of practice tasks to demonstrate their understanding of surface area of composite figures.  Before the students could cut out their templates, they were required to calculate the surface area of each of the individual shapes required.

Step 2: Students were to use their pre-created templates (so each student would have similar measurements) and cut them out of the cardboard.  Once they had done so, they would glue everything together using the hot glue guns provided by the PAA program.

Step 3: More math!  Now that the house templates were assembled, students were required to put in an "order" indicating how many of each time of food they would need.  They calculated the surface area of the various construction supplies (graham wafers, m&ms, marshmallows, etc.) in order to determine how many they would need to cover the surface area of the various pieces. 

Step 4: Once measurements were complete, students measured icing sugar and egg whites and mixed up their royal icing.  They used this icing to glue together their houses using the "supplies" they had requested.

The final product!  Students were able to take their gingerbread houses home to share.  

Kelly's main goal was to engage the students in math, to create an activity that would have them apply some of their learning in a hands-on context, but also to build confidence and to understand the applications of math skills in everyday life.