Anything worth doing is worth doing right. But our society is a just 'do it' society. As teachers we are expected to 'cover' so many concepts within the year, that there is not enough time to teach. Students (and teachers too for that matter) learn better, understand more fully, and remember the tings that they spend time on, do hands on investigations, and play around with. But how often do you have time to give to one concept before you have to move on to another?
I am both blessed and challenged: I don't have to cover the curriculum. I do extra support for students who need a little more time or practice. However, I, too, run out of time. I see the students only one day out of 3 (some only one day out of 6), and, though I initiate some great in-class project learning activities, there have been many times when I, too, need to move on and leave things unfinished.
I recently did two activities that I think were very successful: for those who managed to complete them. I did an activity with my 7th graders on the golden rectangle and the golden ratio.
They got to choose one of the following:
Deign and conduct an experiment or survey to determine if more people prefer the golden ratio or not.
Reflect: “Why do we or don’t we prefer the golden ratio?” Be prepared to present your findings and opinions.
Work with a partner or a small group to find examples of golden ratios by:
Measuring your height and arm span, etc.
Can you find any other relationships between body measurements that are golden ratios?
Measuring things that you find in the room, such as cinder blocks, tables, bulletin boards, doorways, etc.
Speculate, discuss, then illustrate “How does the golden ratio affect our lives?”
Construct a puzzle or poster of different sized rectangles by coloring, cutting, and using the rectangles found on an 8 by 11 inch sheet of paper.
Indicate whether or not they are “golden rectangles” (having a ratio of 1.67).
Be prepared to prove your findings and explain how you did it.
Gather examples of golden rectangles through historic photos or artifacts online.
Organize your findings into a table or chart.
Develop a hypothesis as to “Why this might be so?”
I also did a cubing activity with my 6th graders on prisms and pyramids. They got to choose which dice they wanted to construct, cut out the net, tape it, then roll. They then choose between the two activities listed. I thought it was very cohesive to have them use a net to create a 3D object when they were studying prisms and pyramids.
Cubing: Prisms and Pyramids
Summarize the similarities and differences of “prisms” and “pyramids”.
“Prisms” l “Pyramids”
Organize in a poster: Prisms’ Nets
Explain / demonstrate which nets are “prisms” and which are “pyramids”.
Speculate: Why weren’t the pyramids in Egypt prisms?
Give examples of “prisms” and “pyramids” in real life.
Discuss the similarities and differences between “prisms” and “pyramids”.
Imagine you helped construct the ancient pyramids.
Demonstrate the similarities and differences between “prisms” and “pyramids”...
Brainstorm all of the uses you can for prisms and for pyramids.
Illustrate the connection between nets of “prisms” and “pyramids”.
How are they similar?
How are they different?
Write step-by-step directions for building prisms and pyramids.
How are your directions similar?
How are they different?
I was pleased with the work and the thinking that these activities brought forth. However, some students couldn't complete them within one class period and the next time I saw them, 3 days hence, we had to review and practice to prepare for a quiz. Hopefully we'll find time to return to these activities, to learn, to think, to speculate, and to grow. Hopefully we will find/ make time for learning.