Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fractions Project

My fractions project in Grade 7 is almost done! We had taken a break from it to work on some introductory algebra stuff (and to allow kids to turn in additional rough drafts to me outside of class), but on Tuesday, I gave the kids a full 80-minute period to work on their final drafts, and the polished final drafts will be due on Thursday when they walk into class. I was very pleased with the upper-end products I have seen thus far (complete with explanatory diagrams), and I think they showed me that all kids had to learn some new skills and concepts in order to complete this rather involved project. The kids towards the bottom half of the class required a lot of hands-on support on this project, and some of them will be turning it in late because they are still struggling with basic things like responsibility... (The transition from Grade 6 to my Grade 7 class has been a pretty tough reality check for some of them in terms of my expectations for what they need to complete, by what time, and how well. For three of them, I have extended the deadline and made explicit to them that they need to come conference with me later this week during lunch, and then bring me an awesome final draft following the week-long October break.)

So, I think the specs are a good starting point for a decent fractions project. They are poorly formatted though, in hindsight. For itty-bitty beginning-Grade 7 students, there was too much information all on one page, and as a result it was difficult for the kids to find on the page the culminating big-idea questions (at the bottom of the page) that they needed to answer; if I am to repeat this project in the future, I'd have to re-think how I would do this, maybe provide them with a layout or outline to help them structure their write-up, since it is the first time they have had to do a math writing of this length and complexity.

Here it is on Dropbox. If you do use it as a basis for a fractions project, please share with me your modifications so I can make mine better for next year. Thanks! If you check back on this post, I'll also update it next week to include some fragments of student explanations (and/or maybe photos of finished dartboard designs).

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