For the past few years my students have completed a classroom evaluation form near the end of the school year. The purpose of the evaluation is to reflect on the progress made throughout the year and to highlight beneficial learning experiences. Based on past survey results, students seem to rate learning experiences related to technology and collaboration higher than independent projects. Not a big surprise here, but my elementary students seem to thrive when given a choice on how to present content with a technology component.
One of the more highly rated projects this year was the inquiry based math podcast project. The math podcasts gave students an opportunity to use technology and incorporate creativity into their projects. Notice I said their. I think what helps make this project so beneficial is that students take ownership of the project. That ownership isn’t often related to any extrinsic reward (maybe peer pressure?), but a self-conscious effort to communicate what they’ve learned. Many students noted the topic of student ownership and this project on the end-of-year evaluation.
As with any student project, there were guidelines and a lot of planning. I used a rubric to help guide the projects along and had specific check-in points to give feedback. Time can really get away from the teacher if guidelines aren’t established and enforced. Click on the images below to find Gdoc templates.
The students were split up into groups of two to complete the project. The teams were randomly chosen. Each team received the directions and a rubric page. Each team then created a script that was eventually approved by the teacher.
The students were given approximately 30 – 60 minutes once a week for approximately two months to work on this project. The free program Audacity was used to create and mix the recorded sounds. Creative Commons sound effects were used and can be found with a quick Google search. This can also be an opportunity to have a conversation about attributing credit to sources. Some students needed extra time and it was given. Student groups then presented their podcast to the class and answered questions from the audience. The projects were then shared with the community. Overall, I thought that the skills reinforced/learned through this activity justify the amount to time that was dedicated to the project. I’m hoping to incorporate more of these projects into my classroom next year.
How do you use math projects in class?