August 26, 2012 by ray_emily
So, it is Week #2 of Math Blogger Initiation, which means that I get to share with y’all something that I’m proud of!
(Sidebar: “Y’all” has only been a part of my vocabulary for five years, since moving down south. I used to feel awkward and uncomfortable when saying it – I’m a midwesterner, at heart – but now I love it. Gender neutrality and a penchant for just rolling off your tongue make “y’all” the optimal second person plural pronoun. I can’t really think of many other second person plural pronouns that are vying for this prize, but… whatever.)
My colleague and I developed our “Special Number” project three years ago, when I needed to miss two days of school to attend an out-of-town Rick Stiggins conference on “assessment for learning.” We were in the midst of our unit on number theory, and wanted to keep the kiddos busy. The worksheet that you see below appears, at first glance, kind of blah. But stay with me, beyond the PDF, please! I promise you: This activity holds tons of potential to get your kids geeking out to the max – showing you how goofy and creative they can be over topics like prime factorization, GCF, LCM, and a bunch of other stuff.
Alright, so – each kid picks a number, and figures out all this stuff about the number. Although I do like the design / box-action on this worksheet, it is (as you can see) not that exciting. Once the worksheet is complete, then the fun begins! Essentially, I challenge each student to develop some interesting, creative way of presenting the information that he/she has collected. I offer a few suggestions (now I can share examples from previous students), but tell them, basically, to go nuts.
As I mentioned previously, I was out of town while my kids were scheming and dreaming their “special number” projects and presentations. You can’t imagine how thrilled and surprised I was by the greatness that awaited me upon my return. Their final products included PowerPoint presentations, posters, songs, poems, plays, stories, and more – and these were full of wit, humor, and self-expression. (One super-hilarious youtube video that a student posted three years ago is currently set to “private.” Bummer.)
This project is not the most rigorous, but the joy that students derived from it was entirely worth it.
Huh – now that it is on my brain, there are a few other things we do, during this particular unit, that I ought to share. More stuff on its way tomorrow!
Update, 9/7/12: Wow, I just googled “Special Number Project.” There are a lot of versions of this out there. Huh. They are all quite similar, which makes me want to rethink and improve upon this – and which also makes me wonder if we thought this one up, at all? I don’t remember! Eep. Sorry.