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Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Math Disaster!

Well, as an iPaddie, I am always looking for new ways to teach the curriculum by utilizing the iPads and since I am the most uncomfortable as a student and teacher with Math, it has been the last great frontier for my exploration.

I have slowly dipped my toes in, with some flipped video lessons when I am going to be away at a conference or curricular meeting, so my students still get Math lessons taught by me (for consistency you know!) I have occasionally used the Explain Everything App for an assignment so the students can demonstrate their working knowledge of the topic taught. But nothing dramatic...until this last venture!

We had just finished up Unit 12 in Math, which is a topic concerning area, perimeter, and circumference. So another fifth grade teacher with 1:1 iPads, (shout out to Steph for keeping me on task and sane!,  joined me and we created a scavenger hunt of sorts. It was rudimentary in its tasks, but as a first undertaking it seemed like a monumental job. First, we created some posters (12 of them) like below.

We hung 12 different posters around the room, some dealing with area of square, rectangle, parallelogram, triangle, and irregular shapes.  Some have a perimeter of different shapes (even a star)! And two circumference ones!

My students (and their iPads) paired up with a two other fifth grader students from non-iPad classrooms and the worked the math on paper. Then they came to see me and I would ask for their problem. I would tell them "#5, well, you can find that answer posted near the front doors." The students would walk to the front doors of the school, and somewhere there would be posted a QR code, which my students (of the trio) would use INIGMA app to scan the code. It looks like this...

It was labeled "Area #5" because it was an area problem, and it was the fifth one we created. The perimeter ones were labeled "Perimeter #__".  So they knew they had 12 problems to solve. And this labeling helped them keep track of the ones they had completed. When they scanned the code, they would see this...

It was a duplicate of the poster, but the answer was included on the poster. And it was AMAZING!!! The kids were so motivated to work out the problems, and there was discussion after discussion on how to solve, the different formulas, if they made a mistake-how to correct it! It was the greatest moment for me as a teacher to see them thinking for themselves. I could not have been more proud. I was floating on air. It was one of those elusive ethereal moments teachers dream of when they are under the influence of their rose colored glasses in those precious first few years...

then my first group came back from getting #1. 

They had a serious concern because the answer on the QR Code told them that the answer was 32cm but 32cm was a perimeter and the question asked about area, SO, they argued, that the real answer should be 64 cm squared. 

And thus crashes the airborne teacher back to the ground with a swift kick in the pants! I had figured the wrong answer to #1. And I had to explain that one to the next 22 groups that made their way over to me after being confused, talking it out, and coming to the conclusion that I must be wrong (which I was). 

AND THEN, another group approached to discuss the merits (or demerits) of #4. I had again posted the wrong answer embedded in the QR Code. Sheesh! So far my odds were not stellar! 2/12 wrong. Then approach the students about #3! Thats right folks, another mistaken answer printed on the QR code answer key! This was getting ridiculous and turning into a disaster. I became more nervous as the groups rolled in, worried that it wouldn't be long and another mistake would come to light. 

Thankfully those were the only 3! However if we were grading this, I would have a 75% and that is a C. Luckily I don't settle or strive for mediocrity, so I went in and made the changes and now it is set for 100% perfect! My fifth grade teaching partner that helped build this scavenger hunt, can use it without worry of crashing! Her students will have a miraculous experience with very little hiccups! 

The final lesson the student took away was several great life long lessons...

1. Always proofread! 
2. Even my teacher makes more than one mistake a day! 
3. It is fun to collaborate with others to prove a point. 
4. and lastly...When you finish a product, don't sit back, but continue to push and make improvements. It can always be better.  :)