ImagineIT – Phase 3

Through this project, I hope that the students in my Algebra class come away seeing math as

A key idea is the concept of measurement and its application to proportionality. Students may explore the idea of discarding traditional measurements, centimeters, feet and so forth; and work solely with the idea of proportions to arrive at the desired “math.” Therefore, a solid foundation in the area of ratios and proportions is essential. At the same time, when a simple proportion or formula won’t do, they may see the necessity of specific quantities when it is appropriate.

Linear, exponential and quadratic functions are major topics in algebra. Those functions can help explain growth or decay or movement. They are useful in prediction of future outcomes. The applications are limitless. It is my hope that students see the value of these functions as they develop their understanding of them through personal observation. Accordingly, variables; rate of change; and exponents will be an ongoing concentration.

Students that demonstrate understanding of the big picture will be able to use their powers of observation (and a few simple tools) to create mathematical conjectures, equations and expressions. They will be able to measure and compare their own information in itself as well as with their peers’.

A short survey, before any word of the project, will be given to evaluate students’ current perceptions on their own abilities to make math out of observations. The identical survey will be given post-project.

As this project moves along, students will be continually updating a digital portfolio that will serve as a summative assessment. Prior to any uploading, however, I will need to provide context and some structure to guide my students. This will be in the form of models that I provide with which I demonstrate my rationale and observations. Post-demonstration surveys or student journals may act as formative assessments as students begin to formulate their own understandings of the concepts.

When students are ready for their first entry to their digital portfolio, clear expectations will be set. For reference, all the information and examples will be available on my website. The evidence of understanding will be 1) in the content of the media (video or photo) and 2) the explanation of how the artifact qualifies and/or what is the mathematical idea that comes from the item 3) accurate mathematical expressions or equations (with explanations). Feedback will be given directly on shared document or through email.

By year’s end, I would expect a minimum of 6 entries in each student’s digital portfolio. This would approximately equate to one entry every six weeks. This will allow for the necessary scaffolding and evaluation and reworking, if applicable.

I will be entering my second year as the math teacher at James Ward School. For the seven years prior to math, I was the Spanish teacher. Still feeling somewhat “new” as a math teacher, I feel immensely more comfortable with a year’s experience under my belt. That being said, I am somewhat anxious but excited moving forward with this project.

I teach seventh and eighth grade math and an additional section of Algebra for eighth graders. These students were selected for the Algebra class based on standardized test scores and/or teacher recommendation. The vast majority of the students in the Algebra section have test scores that would place them in the 85-99% national percentile based on NWEA MAP test.

James Ward School is located in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, on the border of Chinatown. Approximately 65% of the students at Ward are Chinese and most speak either Cantonese or Mandarin. 80% of the students at Ward are low income and 33% are limited English proficient.

My classroom is equipped with a set of Chromebooks that will be extremely useful for the implementation of this project. I am fairly confident that 100% of the students in my algebra class have smart phones and internet access. I will definitely ascertain this the first week of class and work out any accommodations as necessary.

I’ve decided to do this project with the Algebra students due to the often abstract nature of Algebra. I’m hoping they see clear applications of algebra as they complete their projects.

A few of the instructional strategies that I will employ will include some lecture, plenty of discussion, modeling/demonstration, think-aloud with visuals, and of course, individual projects. As we weave through the mathematical content standards throughout the year, the digital portfolio will be an invaluable venue to check in and assess student understanding.

I believe the choice of photo and video to be placed in the digital portfolios is the best way to achieve the goals of this project. For one, the options are limitless and this is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity and perhaps have a little fun while demonstrating understanding of mathematical concepts. Another reason I think this works is that these formats are completely accessible to all my students and easily (and inexpensively) transferable and manageable. (I would also like to explore the use of measuring apps, such as Smart Tools to test their usefulness in the observations the students will be making. A combination of technologies might be the way to go.)

**Desired Results**Through this project, I hope that the students in my Algebra class come away seeing math as

*real*, not simply some isolated subject with numbers and italicized letters on a page. Instead of being given an equation, formula or measurement; students will create their own mathematical expressions, etc. – based on their own observations. Through these investigations, students will become familiar with the type of equation or expression that is appropriate for the given situation. This leads to the big idea of this project: that math comes from observation and they (the students) have the power to make their own math.A key idea is the concept of measurement and its application to proportionality. Students may explore the idea of discarding traditional measurements, centimeters, feet and so forth; and work solely with the idea of proportions to arrive at the desired “math.” Therefore, a solid foundation in the area of ratios and proportions is essential. At the same time, when a simple proportion or formula won’t do, they may see the necessity of specific quantities when it is appropriate.

Linear, exponential and quadratic functions are major topics in algebra. Those functions can help explain growth or decay or movement. They are useful in prediction of future outcomes. The applications are limitless. It is my hope that students see the value of these functions as they develop their understanding of them through personal observation. Accordingly, variables; rate of change; and exponents will be an ongoing concentration.

**Performances of Understanding**Students that demonstrate understanding of the big picture will be able to use their powers of observation (and a few simple tools) to create mathematical conjectures, equations and expressions. They will be able to measure and compare their own information in itself as well as with their peers’.

A short survey, before any word of the project, will be given to evaluate students’ current perceptions on their own abilities to make math out of observations. The identical survey will be given post-project.

As this project moves along, students will be continually updating a digital portfolio that will serve as a summative assessment. Prior to any uploading, however, I will need to provide context and some structure to guide my students. This will be in the form of models that I provide with which I demonstrate my rationale and observations. Post-demonstration surveys or student journals may act as formative assessments as students begin to formulate their own understandings of the concepts.

When students are ready for their first entry to their digital portfolio, clear expectations will be set. For reference, all the information and examples will be available on my website. The evidence of understanding will be 1) in the content of the media (video or photo) and 2) the explanation of how the artifact qualifies and/or what is the mathematical idea that comes from the item 3) accurate mathematical expressions or equations (with explanations). Feedback will be given directly on shared document or through email.

By year’s end, I would expect a minimum of 6 entries in each student’s digital portfolio. This would approximately equate to one entry every six weeks. This will allow for the necessary scaffolding and evaluation and reworking, if applicable.

**My Students, My School and I**I will be entering my second year as the math teacher at James Ward School. For the seven years prior to math, I was the Spanish teacher. Still feeling somewhat “new” as a math teacher, I feel immensely more comfortable with a year’s experience under my belt. That being said, I am somewhat anxious but excited moving forward with this project.

I teach seventh and eighth grade math and an additional section of Algebra for eighth graders. These students were selected for the Algebra class based on standardized test scores and/or teacher recommendation. The vast majority of the students in the Algebra section have test scores that would place them in the 85-99% national percentile based on NWEA MAP test.

James Ward School is located in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, on the border of Chinatown. Approximately 65% of the students at Ward are Chinese and most speak either Cantonese or Mandarin. 80% of the students at Ward are low income and 33% are limited English proficient.

My classroom is equipped with a set of Chromebooks that will be extremely useful for the implementation of this project. I am fairly confident that 100% of the students in my algebra class have smart phones and internet access. I will definitely ascertain this the first week of class and work out any accommodations as necessary.

I’ve decided to do this project with the Algebra students due to the often abstract nature of Algebra. I’m hoping they see clear applications of algebra as they complete their projects.

A few of the instructional strategies that I will employ will include some lecture, plenty of discussion, modeling/demonstration, think-aloud with visuals, and of course, individual projects. As we weave through the mathematical content standards throughout the year, the digital portfolio will be an invaluable venue to check in and assess student understanding.

I believe the choice of photo and video to be placed in the digital portfolios is the best way to achieve the goals of this project. For one, the options are limitless and this is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity and perhaps have a little fun while demonstrating understanding of mathematical concepts. Another reason I think this works is that these formats are completely accessible to all my students and easily (and inexpensively) transferable and manageable. (I would also like to explore the use of measuring apps, such as Smart Tools to test their usefulness in the observations the students will be making. A combination of technologies might be the way to go.)

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