My students had a blast making a book by writing their own problems similar to those found in the book, The Math Curse. I read it to them and then asked them to think about how math was used in their daily lives. Some of them wrote really cute paragraphs and even did illustrations.View Thread
Math projects can be used as extension activities, student differentiation, and extra credit. Here are some examples.
If you have access to digital cameras, have your class hunt for plane shapes in the school, photograph them, and identify them. This can also work with line relationships...perpendicular lines in the corners and on cinder blocks and floor and ceiling tiles, parallel lines from the same places, and intersecting lines almost anywhere. Later you can add the three-D shapes to your display as well as angles found and identified.View Thread
This is an assignment I gave to my middle school students:
Geometry Map Project
Angles, Lines and Triangles
Your task is to design a map that includes several different kinds of lines, angles and triangles. Your map can be of a town, your neighborhood or a made up place. It must however include the following:
- Two sets of streets that are parallel
- Two sets of streets that are perpendicular
- One street that intersects another streets to form an obtuse angle
- One street intersects another to form an acute angle
- One street that is a line segment
- One street that is a line
- One street that is a ray
- An ice cream parlor in the shape of an equilateral triangle
- A Pool that is in the shape of a scalene triangle
- A Pizza Place in the shape of a Isosceles triangle
- Your map must also include a compass rose
Once your map is completed you are to write out five directions from one place to another. Each direction must have one of these terms: parallel, intersecting or perpendicular. These directions should be able to get your teacher and classmates from one place to another without getting lost!
I have done the million dollar project (they have to spend $1 million on things in catalogs, newspapers etc.)- helps with subtraction and decimals (if you don't round the numbers).
Cafeteria Surveys (they come up with 5 questions to ask 50 people about what food, decorations, schedules they would like to see in the cafeteria. They graph their results.
Geometry project (they find 20 geometric figures in the "real world" from either magazines, newspapers, or they can take photographs. They have to put them on a poster. The objects cannot be drawn and have to be real object.
Newspaper Scavenger hunt (the kids find items like decimals, fractions, percents, ordinal numbers etc. in the newspaper, cut them out and make an original design of all of their findings.) I have had kids make a poster, but some are more creative and have put them on a t-shirt, a clock, and a mobile.
Carreer Project- the students interview someone who does math in their job. they have to have an example of a math problem they use in their job. (they don't necessarily have to understand the math problem, just understand how they use it.) They have to write a paragraph explaining how math is used, and have a picture of that person at their job.
I teach 3rd grade acceleration (3rd & 4th grade math together) and I do a zoo map for area and perimeter. They have to create buildings for different animals using rectangles (but they can add multiple rectangles together to make odd shaped buildings and then have to determine perimeter (pretty easy) and area by finding the area of each rectangle and then adding them together.View Thread
There is the always popular Million dollar project. The kids have to buy items worth a million dollars. This helps with subtracting across zeros and/or adding decimals.
For geometry I have the kids find geometric shapes in the environment. They can take pictures or cut them out of a magazine. I usually give them a list of 20 geometric terms.
You could read "The Greedy Triangle" to the class and have them create their own book based on geometric shapes. At the end of "the greedy triangle" they have activities to do with younger kids. I make my students include an activity to do with a kinder kid. We set aside a day where my students will read to the kinder class.
For proportions I have the kids recreate their bedroom on a smaller scale. (example:1 foot=1 inch). They can do this in a cardboard box. They have to recreate the same things they have in their room, (bed, dresser, desk etc)
At the end of the year, you can have the kids find certain concepts you covered throughout the year in real life applications. For example, they will have to find a fraction, decimal, percent, ordinal number, etc. and present it in a creative way. I had kids create a t-shirt, or a powerpoint, or even just a poster. They can find the information in newspaper articles, magazines etc. They have to show the concept in the original format. (if it is inside a newspaper article, they have to put in the whole article.)
We are currently doing a Stock project, where the students pick a stock they want to follow, such as McDonald's, Toys R Us, Great Adventure, etc. They make a brochure for prospective investors during their computer class time with the computer instructor; they graph the sales f the stock over a 6 week period; figure out the amount of stock they could buy with X amount of money; learn when a stock splits what it means. This incorporates a lot, such as math, reading, newspaper in the classroom, watching the stock reports on TV, comparing and contrasting, etc.
I had my fifth grade class create a town for our geometry unit. They had to come up with a theme for the town and everything had to relate to that team (names of buildings, streets, etc.). They had a set of requirements for their map - so many parallel streets, perpendicular streets, intersecting streets, use 10 geometric shapes for the builings, have a park with a circular sandbox, triangular swingset, and a rectangular pool. All the dimensions were given. They used rulers, protractors, and a compass. There was a sheet with all the requirements and a score sheet to give a grade. They got very creative and really did a nice job with it. Sorry I can't give exact details. My papers are all in school. I did get it somewhere online. We worked on the project at the end of the classs periods if we finished up early.View Thread
You could have the kids design a menu for a themed restaurant. You could set the criteria for how many of each type of item (appetizers, beverages, main dishes, etc.) they have to have. Then they could write word problems using their menu. It could be very basic, just adding prices of different items, to more complex problems, like figuring the cost of a meal for you and a friend plus tax or figuring the cost of the meal for your grandma with her senior discount of 10%.
When I did this with middle school students, they really got into the theme, and I saw everything from Star Wars themed diners to Italian restaurants to a Math Cafe.
For fractions they could create a mosaic using exactly 100 pieces. These could be seeds, different colored squares of construction paper, ... Then write the fractions and maybe percentages of each color or seed on the back to evaluate mathematically.
I have a project called "Design Your Dream House."
In a nutshell, the kids draw a 2D version of what the front of their house will look like. They must include at least 4 windows, and two doors. All lines must be drawn with a ruler and must be in CMs. Students must then determine the perimeter and area of each window and door. they must also do the same for the front of the house...perimeter and area. They must then convert these measurements to MMs. Eash dimension must be noted in typical drafting fasion. Houses must be neatly colored and students may add addtional features. As enrichment, I have my high students draw room layouts.
The kids have fun with it...especially the shape of the houses. I then have the kids grade their own papers using a rubric, they staple it to the project and submit...I review the rubric results and assign a grade.