I’ve always had my students draw in the lines and explore the interior and exterior angles of a polygon, but they struggle with drawing the lines. Many students try to draw lines from every angle to every other angle and you end up with a spiderweb mess. We also spend so much time on the lines that we lose focus of the pattern that develops. During a PD when we were talking about students questions and exploration, a colleague suggested letting student cut out the angles on the exterior of a polygon and put them together. Well, if you’ve been around my blog long enough you know I am NOT a fan of cutting paper. So I created the exterior angle exploration during our session. It allowed the same exploration as the paper, but was possibly even more visual. Our team LOVED it. I went on to create the interior angles exploration also. The purpose of this one is to spend time on exploring the pattern and not on the drawing of the actual lines.
If you use this exploration, please let me know. Make sure you put in in Google Classroom with make a copy for each student.
I stumbled across this post on Twitter by @joliboucher and I loved the idea of creating Mad Libs in a Google Sheet. I teach math, so I wanted a way to incorporate this into my class. I have a review coming up this week and it seemed like a perfect way to make a self-checking review. Using some skills I learned from @alicekeeler, I formatted my spreadsheet to “self-check” the answers. Once the answer is correct, the part of speech shows up and the students can enter a word. Once all of the words are entered their story appears on the next tab.
The students have a separate sheet with the review questions.
I need to get better at writing the stories, LOL, but I can see this being one of our standard fun “self-check” activities going forward.
I’ve attached the spreadsheet if you want to play around with it too.
I wrote a post a few years ago about creating digital breakout games. You can view that post here. Quite a few things have changed, so a new post was in order. Matt (@jmattmiller) was kind enough to let me be a guest blogger on his site. He also added a sweet planning guide to help you with the process. Head over to ditchthattextbook.com and check out the post.
You can also check out my TrianglesOnly.com escape room that I posted last year.
If you’ve listened to any of the podcasts I’ve been on, or heard me speak at a conference or webinar, or read my blog, then you know I love to have students write and create in my math classroom. One project that I particularly love is the Transformation Comic activity. This year, I wanted to step it up a notch and make the transformations more visible, so I had the students turn their comic into a stop motion video. I posted about making stop motion videos on my Infinitely Teaching blog using Tall Tweets. For this project I used Screencastify and had my students manually move their comic book characters around.
When I surveyed my students at the end of the project, their favorite parts were using Bitmoji (which was optional), writing the story, and many said the LOVED making the movie. One student said that making the movie helped her understand the transformation better. YAY! We used part of a class period for students to share their videos. They were very proud. So was I!
Here are a few of the movies and their original comics.
Comic 1 Comic 2 Comic 3 Comic4 Comic 5
Movie 1 Movie 2 Movie 3 Movie 4 Movie 5
I would love for you to share on Twitter if you do this activity with your students!
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.
What do you do at the end of the year when students have already turned in their laptops? Tessellations.
This was a great review of transformations and students were able to show their creativity. We learned how to make tessellations that translate, rotate, and reflect and then students could choose which 2 of the 3 they wanted to make pictures with. I loved the A-HA moments when students created their tessellation realizing that the transformation used to create the template was the same transformation they were trying to make.
I created some stop motion animations to help make each type of tessellation.
Some were simple, some were fancy. All of them were very fun.
Keeping students involved and excited about math at the end of the year with finals and impending summer break is very important. I want students to love math more when they leave my classroom than when they entered. I don’t want to lose them at the end.
I have been doing this activity LONG before computers were a staple in the classroom. (We won’t talk about how many years that’s been!) I love this project now as much as I did when I started.
I used to have a Far Side by Gary Larson desk calendar and each year I would keep the images and use it for this project. I don’t buy the desk calendar anymore, but you can find Larson’s comic’s online.
I take the comics and cut them equally into 3-4 congruent parts (depending on my groups). Students must work in groups of 3-4 to decide on a grid size for their original and a scaled paper size and grid size. Once they’ve worked together to draw this in, they start sketching their drawing box-by-box. We spend about 4 -50 minute class periods on this project.
The students have a lot of fun with this and are proud of their product when finished. It also reinforces teamwork. When one person doesn’t complete their part, a picture is hung up for viewing incomplete. So sad.
Here is the planning guide I use for this project. If you use it, post about about it on Twitter, and tag me @MandiTolenEDU.