Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative End-of-Year Assignment

For the end of the year, I am thinking about asking my middle-schoolers (7th- and 8th- graders) to make a creative assignment for me. I am hopeful that we will have about 2 full weeks following the big semester exams to do this / include presentations as appropriate. Options I am throwing around:

* Informative math posters (ie. process posters about problem-solving tips OR posters comparing various methods of one important topic)

* Building a cool 3-D model of something of their creation (ie. line art, origami, toothpick model)

* Creating a math comic strip or animation that involves a topic we have studied

* Video-recording a math song or math rap of their own creation.

Any other ideas? Any suggestions on how I should structure this so that it is open-ended yet still structured? The way I envision it, kids can choose their own groups BUT they will have to fully justify the workload of every person to me, before the groups are "set." Individual projects are welcome as well. Grading will be based on criteria of accuracy of information, presentation, creativity, and sufficiency of effort (relative to # of group members they had).

If it works, then at the very end of the year we will have our own mini math fair. :) I am not teaching any of my 8th-graders next year and I know I will miss them dearly. I hope they will create things by which I can always remember them!

PS. Outline of tasks is here.


  1. Thought: Does it have to be graded? Can it just be shared?

    I've had success with creative, ungraded projects like this. Kids love them, and you get to see the different ways they have learned from your course.

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for the suggestion! Realistically by the time the project is rolling in June, semester grades will more or less already be closed. However, I would consider counting the project as extra credit if the kids do a very good job on them, or lowering their grade if they do abysmally by showing no effort. So I guess that's what my plan is right now. Carrot and stick approach, but not thinking strictly about points.

  3. I like adding a communication piece. What big math idea does their project show and how, as well as describing their process.

  4. Great ideas Mimi! I love your blog. Thanks for always sharing! Are you on Twitter?

  5. Thanks, Melanie. :) I try. @untilnextstop but I am an irregular twitter user at best!