As a teacher, I am not only teaching my students mathematics, but preparing them and having them think long-term, what they want to do when done with their high school careers. The way we teach is not the way workers work in real-life situations. Engineers do not working through worksheets or are told what formulas to use or have the information being provided for them. Engineers have to figure out the problem and then figure out how to solve the problem. Using project-based learning helps with this problem-solving ability. If teachers give out a question and have students figure out ways of answering that question they not only learn the math behind it but gain social skills, see how the math is used outside the math classroom and see how experts and engineers work on a regular basis. Using the phases of thinking about the question, looking at the math needed to answer the question and giving the students the freedom to research and come up with their own creations in answering the problem gives confidence, and allows the class to gain much more then the basis skill of formula work.
This article talks about building engineers before looking at the pure math, the benefit of looking beyond the skills and looking at the concepts and how the skills are applied. A teacher does have to take testing into consideration. However, what we really want from our students is not just be able to pass a test, but be able to use what we teach them throughout their lives.
These are the questions we were asked to answer in our search this week in the discussion forum.
1. Identify some common features among projects that you examined.
As I searched through the math section and later looking through other subjects I noticed that they were all very different. I would see the same format coming from the same schools, yet the different schools all have different qualities in the creation of the PBL projects. The more I searched the more I noticed the same school/district over and over again. To me, this really showing how “new” this concept is in sharing these ideas. I don’t think the concept of PBL is new, as teachers do parts of projects in most schools. But sharing the ideas, most teachers do not know of these web pages to go and search. I think it comes back again to lack of time and training in what is available to us as educators.
Some qualities I saw throughout the projects would include the objectives and common core standards the projects covers, along with the resources needed and the skills that students should already have. Some of the layouts were very easy to read and follow, while other projects were more difficult to decipher, at least for my liking. There is a lot of freedom in the creation of the projects not a cookie-cutter template that is used throughout all projects.
2. Share one PBL project that you were able to locate during your search.
One of the projects that I connected with had to do with art and math. The students recreate a piece of historical art by using slope, distance formula, and other mathematical formulas to create the lines needed to remake the piece. Extra credit for those who use inequalities to use shading in the art.
Another example with a different PBL lesson but one that I see could work together is:
Stained Graph Window
3. Explain why you like this project, and how you might be able to adapt it for your own use.
In my Integrated Algebra Trigonometry class (mainly freshmen) we have a unit on slope, distance formula, midpoint, circles. The unit uses a geometry programing system to work through and help explain these crucial formulas. The two PBL projects would fit right into the unit. So not only would students see how it works through the curriculum’s programs but would have the chance to create their own artwork and see it come together within the program as well.