I love to create in the math classroom. It’s a great way to connect with students who may not LOVE math but love to create. However, I want the projects we create to enhance their understanding of math, and not just end up an art lesson.
This project, with the addition of a critical thinking discussion, does both. I hold up a few of these pieces of art and walk around the room so students can look at them. They automatically start talking at their tables about what they see.
Then I ask the question, “What type of transformation is represented in this art? Discuss at your table, but be able to support your answer.” I immediately hear “rotation, it’s a rotation!” But as they start to justify to each other they hit a road block. It does’t fit what they know about rotations. Eventually they decide it’s a reflection and provide the necessary justification to support their idea. I love the rich conversations that happen.
Now, I could stop there and my students would have learned, but what fun is that? They want to create one of these art pieces. I already have triangles cut out and ready to go and we discuss a plan to make one of our own. As they are creating, we “remember” that this is a reflection, not a rotation, and discuss how we can achieve this. Students are engaged, they are helping each other, and they are having fun in math.
Here are some pics of the process and some of my kiddos work. It is always a success!
I’ve also included a slide show of some of the art created.
Last year I posted a vocabulary activity I’ve done many times with Geometry and our circle unit. Our students love this project so much we decided to use it for other units as well. Our first unit in Geometry is basic vocabulary and notation. My colleague, Tessah Wood, wrote the activity and, once again, our students LOVED it.
Here are some student examples:
We didn’t have our Chromebooks yet so I created an information page instead of putting in a Slide Deck like I would normally. I’ve included the PDF version of the instruction sheet and the scoring guide and you may recreate it if you want to make changes.
Unit 1 Picture Vocab Project and Unit 1 Picture Project
This was a great way to practice their vocabulary and their notations and allow students some choice and creativity. I gave students feedback on their project when they turned it in and allowed them to fix any mistakes they had and resubmit them. It was a great first lesson and discussion about learning from our mistakes to improve.
Let me know if you use this lesson. I love to see examples shared on Twitter so please tag me @MandiTolenEDU if you share.
I don’t give vocabulary assignments very often. I usually teach it as we go in context of the lesson. Every now and then front-loading vocabulary will make lessons flow more smoothly. That’s the case with our circle unit. I can’t take credit for creating this project, but I really do like it. Students have to look up the words then create a picture with circles and label each one. Once I begin the lessons on this they are already familiar with the vocab. One student asked me during the activity if we could do this more often, “Anytime you can color in math, it’s a good day.” We actually color in Geometry often, so I guess he has a lot of good days 🙂 I’ve included a few examples below and then attached the Slides I gave them with more examples. Use it freely and let me know if you do. I love it when others can benefit from something I already do.
Link to Slides for the activity prompt, vocab list and other examples.