At the end of every unit, I have my students do a project. This year, I had all my kids (algebra 1, algebra 2, and precalculus) do the same thing, which was to design an app or make a video that would help students like them learn one of the topics that we had worked on in the beginning of the year.
Here’s the assignment:
What I like about the project is two things in particular:
- It’s easy to make it creative and cute. Projects are a big deal in my class and I think it’s important for students to take pride in them, which bleeds from content into presentation. It’s easy to demonstrate that in this project.
- The students always do a nice job explaining their topics, some of which are simple and some of which are more advanced. (They get to choose, and usually choose something that’s a good level for themselves.)
The students tend to give nice explanations and provide example problems. But I wish that they would make some apps that weren’t just lecture and practice. Students get excited about dressing them up with glitter and weird internet memes, but they’re mostly just following a model that they know.
So my question is how I can get more stuff from them where they’re creating new ways of looking at the material, rather than regurgitating information in a format that has been made by somebody else. I guess that’s a lot to ask of every student, especially in the beginning of the year, but I feel like I could be doing a better job. One easy answer that occurs to me is that I ought to provide them with some examples, ideally of topics that they would not be covering in their own projects.