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Facebook Project Followup

February 1, 2012

A quick followup re: my Quadrilateral Facebook Project

Some of my studnets knocked this out of the park – It was really fun to see what my students knew about these shapes and how they connected it to their real life.

In grading them, I’ve come to realize that the whole point of assigning this project in the first place is to (1) allow students to creatively demonstrate they understand the properties of different quadrilaterals and their relationships, (2) make connections to the real-world, and (3) lucidly explain their answers and justifications in a manner that is convincing. I’ve been thinking of ways to adjust my rubric in light of these three points

Here is a list of A+ explanations that some of my students submitted. Some favorites:

“Mr Rhombus has an interest in law because a rhombus has all equal sides so he believes all people should have equal rights”

“Mr Parallelograms favorite movie is Master of Disguise because he can disguise himself as other shapes, like a rectangle or a square”

“Mr Square’s favorite movie is the Breakfast Club because when it was made, they called people ‘squares’ when they were losers”

“Mr Parallelogram likes any books about trains because trains run on parallel tracks and parallelograms have two parallel sides”

Most students who put in the effort received excellent grades – those that didn’t either didn’t follow directions (which my rubric penalized them heavily for), didn’t fully explain their answers, or left parts incomplete.

When I assign this next year, some things I would change…

  • Make clear in my directions and rubric that students should use real movies/books/music and not make things up. More students than I can count came up with very punny bands or movies for their shapes to like – which is clever, but ignores the whole ‘make real-world connections’ aspect of the project
  • Make clear that ‘having parallel lines’ is not a hobby, nor is ‘the geometry textbook’ an acceptable answer for a favorite book
  • Make clear that the activities and entertainment must be related to the shape, not to the fake person that the student is creating – ‘hanging out with friends at the mall’, while a valid hobby to have for a person, is not something particularly special for a shape
  • I think I’d still have them complete 4 pages, but one page would be due much earlier than the rest so I could give feedback. This is definitely something I wish I had done this year – had them turn in one as sort of a ‘rough draft’ so I can tell them if their explanations are acceptable, etc. A lot of students fell prey to the mistakes listed above, which is something that was unclear in my rubric and directions but could have been caught early on if I had essentially had them do a rough draft

So… that’s about it.

Update 2/12: If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re looking for ideas on how to teach a unit focusing on quadrilaterals. If that’s the case, you might want to check out how @crstn85 does it over at Drawing on Math: http://drawingonmath.blogspot.com/2012/02/sorting-quadrilaterals.html

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3 Comments
  1. Katherine permalink

    What an awesome idea! I remember this kind of topic seemed so boring when I was student teaching high school math, but this project sounds so fun!

  2. lisabej permalink

    I love this, thank you both for creating it and suggesting how to improve upon it. I plan to offer this as an alternative option to Jasmine Walker’s Programming Project:
    http://jazmath.blogspot.com/2013/10/ti-83-programming-project-for.html

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