I was recently inspired to restructure my Final Geometry project based on a conversation I had with a Project Based Learning professor from University of Pennsylvania. I mentioned to Wallace during my midyear meetings that I wished my projects were more ‘hands-on’ and/or required students to build something based on the patterns and relationships they were discovering in class. He put me in contact with a Upenn professor that helped me look at my current curriculum to find opportunities for hands on learning. Here is the task that inspired my work.
I plan to rework my final project, The Amazon Project, by tasking students to build a new package design that Amazon can use that minimizes cardboard use, while maximizing space. They will do this by using a 2×2 piece of cardboard.
Authenticity Lens and POP
My POP is through the Personal Authenticity lens since students will be building deeper connections through themselves and their work. They aren’t just talking about the math, they’re building it! It’s also through the Authenticty to the Discipline lens because the project will ask students to be engineers and builders. They will create blue prints, scale drawings, and test their structure using basic materials.
POP: How might I engage students in authentic real-world projects while balancing content and skills?
This is really exciting for me since there are innumerable applications in the real world using Geometry. I want my students to experience these applications first hand (using their hands!).
My fears are like all teachers’ fears, how do I fit everything in?! I’m worried about the time that it takes to explore 2D and 2D objects, their formulas, and how they ‘re connected while providing time for students to ‘play’ as engineers and builders.
This sounds like it has a lot elements of design thinking – creating a prototype, testing it out, evaluating its success, then revising the prototype! Engineering has that real-world application and authenticity that beautifully demonstrates the need for math.
The concept of play is also so important and worthy of time. I think it’s just a matter of how much time is given initially to play completely freely, without too many constraints, in order to spark imagination – and then how much time to allot to play again with design and mathematical constraints so that the building time is purposeful and driven by the desire to produce the best prototype.