My goal this semester was to continue to improve my use of formative assessment (largely through the use of whiteboarding) and expand the role of Project-Based Learning in my classroom. Up to this point, I have developed a wide-scale PBL framework for an applied stream of math we have in the province called Workplace and Apprenticeship Math. Those specific topics lend themselves very well to the methodology; they are a natural fit for PBL. I am still looking for ways to branch the intangibles from PBL into a more abstract strand of mathematics–one that includes relations, exponents, functions, trig, etc.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to PBL:
- Start with a large-scale project and fit the specific outcomes within it, or
- Build toward a larger project with smaller tasks.
Creating PBL 3.0
I have been on my project-based learning journey for a while now. This blog has served as the main receptacle for my inspirations, ideas, successes, failures, and reflections. It is now time to document my next step: wide scale revision.
This post will be divided into two main sections:
- A look back at the posts that brought me to this point. (Reading them may provide some context, but not reading them will provide you with more free time…your call)
- A look ahead into my revisions and their rationale. I will describe the new administrative and assessment framework around the projects and provide links to the first completed framework online.
Those of you who follow me on twitter or read this blog regularly know I have been struggling to implement wide scale Project-based Learning (PBL) into my Workplace and Apprenticeship mathematics courses. This strand of classes is probably unfamiliar to those outside of Western Canada. I have included a link to our provincial curriculum below. You can skip to the outcomes and indicators to view which topics need to be addressed. (Page 33)
This is the finale of a series of blog posts detailing a student posed project. To get the full picture, begin reading at part one:
This is the fourth in a series of posts detailing a student-posed math project. To get the full picture, please read the previous posts beginning with:
This post is the third in a series of posts detailing the happenings of a math project. To better understand the whole story, please start reading at the beginning:
This post will make a lot more sense if you read the framework for the project in “Soft Drink Project Part 1: The Framework“.
I left the classroom energized; I could not remember a time that I was more pleased with a lesson that I had taught. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it teaching. I was observing. The process of brainstorming began organically. I had my doubts that it would continue the following Monday. Typically, students can’t even remember where they sit after a weekend–let alone what task they ended on.
This post is the first in a series describing a set of classes in my Grade 11 Workplace and Apprenticeship class. I have designed the course around the ideals of Project-Based Learning (PBL); students encounter a series of tasks, problems, and prompts that necessitate three crucial qualities: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Each unit leaves ample room for student extensions and mathematical forays into more elaborate pursuits. This unit was no different. Students studied the topics of Surface Area and Volume through a series of tasks, problems, and prompts–one of which ballooned into the subject of this blog series.
Unexpected Lesson Extension
It is very hard to develop an active atmosphere in a math classroom–especially at the high school level. I believe there are two main reasons for this: 1) Students have been slowly trained throughout their schooling that a “good” math student is one that listens, absorbs, and repeats. 2) The content often reaches beyond what most teachers deem to be “constructable”. Rather than fight with these two restraints, I began my implementation of Problem Based Learning in a class with manageable curriculum content filled with students who never learned to sit still in the first place.