I was given the opportunity to attend PBL World during the summer and was able to learn how PBL can transform teaching and learning. During the conference I learned about the essential elements needed in planning and implementing a “Gold Standard” Project. Through that process I had the opportunity to develop a PBL unit for my Algebra classes, and have since developed an additional PBL unit for my Geometry courses.
The unit for Algebra I, “How Math Can Tell a Story?” involved students using graphing stories to demonstrate use of slope and rate of change. Students began by viewing and interpreting graphing stories. Following the discussion of slope and rate of change, students create their own video and interpret the video into graphic form. Along with the graphic they describe it using the concepts of slope and rate of change.
The Geometry unit “How Can We Use Geometry to Create Unique Designs?” has students creating geometric artwork or structure. Their design will include geometric elements that demonstrate knowledge of foundational geometry concepts. Students provide along with their artwork an explanation of the geometric elements in written or presentation form.
Through learning the skills of PBL, I have found even small changes on a day to day basis that I have adjusted in my teaching. I have found pieces of PBL to be beneficial to many lessons without utilizing the entire process for every unit. I begin our units with an open-ended question that is revisited throughout the unit. On small projects during class allowing students voice and choice in their work and products has increased student engagement. Although time management has been a struggle to allowing for completion of my planned units, I have enjoyed the student products that have been created, and seeing a different product from students than I am accustom to.
If you would like more information, please visit the PBL World website, http://bie.org/intro/pblworld
or check out one of the following books which were both showcased at the conference.
Post by | Laurie Niec | High School Mathematics
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