I was going to wait ’til I got a copy of the project in question to ‘splain why I like it and what happens when students are working on it… but it’s time for positivity.
OUr Pre-Algebra course has a ‘recipe’ project for practicing fractions. THe questions are broken down in an appropriate order, so the first thing they’re told is “this recipe is for 8 people” and asked how many times they’d have to … I don’t know if it was “Multiply” or some other language… the recipe to serve 24 people?
So most of the students can intuit the 3.
THen comes the recipe.
THen they’re asked to sequence fractions from smallest to largest — that could have been improved wiht a little more spacing between the numbers, but they were all halves and quarters and … yes, most of the students thought about them and figured it out. THey were drawing from their own previous knowledge to *answer a math question* and it was a joy to watch.
Then they were asked to multiply some fractions by 3.
*Then* they were asked how much of each ingredient they’d need. Most of ’em didn’t think to look up at what they had done but when they figured that out … hey, the idea that you can use what you did to figure other stuff out is one of the more important tools of mathematical thinking.
THere was other stuff I liked, but this was a project students enjoyed and learned from. It’s neat that around now, I hear things like “I thought I couldn’t do this! It’s not so hard!” and … that’s music…