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Topic: Semester Projects
Replies: 15   Last Post: Apr 11, 2002 3:48 PM

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Barb Bjornstad

Posts: 5
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Semester Projects
Posted: Feb 5, 1995 1:15 PM
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I have used projects in my classes for a long time, but I have not taught
geometry, only algebra and/or trig, precalculus. But I think that the
kind of projects I do could be used at any level of math.
1. Have each student ( or a group if you prefer) do a project on a
mathematician - to include a report with bibliography , perhaps a poster
to "advertise" what the mathematician has done, a bulletin board, etc.
You will find out how many of our students write!

2. Have each student ( or group) do research on the origins of a
mathematical topic, for geometry this could be pi, conic sections, area
formulas, volumes, triangles, trig functions, etc. There are some very
good WWW sites on history of math which can be used for either 1 or 2.

3. Another topic for research is careers and how they involve math. I
require a report on the careers, i.e. what is it, what educational
background to get into the field, salaries, etc. Again this is to get
the student to write and to think about their future.

4. There are books now giving simple experiments in math-- I have
assigned these to groups to do and to write up the results. I had my trig
students do one about sprials using a record player and cardboard. It
could be done by geometry students as well. Students learned a lot and
liked it.

5. My favorite project is a class one-- to make a museum of
mathematics. I modeled this after the exhibit in the Museum of Science
in Boston. Groups make an exhibit to display different concepts about
math, either learned or new. The exhibit can include the historical
background of the item, how it is used in the real world, etc. Some of
the exhibits can be hands on experiments. I have
never tried this, but I have thought about organizing a museum in the
math dept. where each teacher and/or class would take a different area
of math and make exhibits on them and have a giant math museum.

6. For my algebra II classes we looked at a problem I made up and groups
came up with solutions. The problem was to design a seating chart for my
room which has 6 columns and five rows, whereby no one sits by anyone they
are currently sitting by. They write up an algorithm to move students
then perform the algorithm 5 times. Sort of a fractal seating chart. If
interested I could send more details on this one.

Hope these help.. As you can tell I do not have access to computers for
these classes.

Barb Bjornstad
Sierra Vista, AZ

On Sun, 5 Feb 1995 wrote:

> I am new to this conference as well as the teaching profession. A fellow first
> year geometry teacher and I are looking for semester projects for our classes.
> We teach "regular" geometry, mostly to 10th and 11th graders. Ideally, the
> project would allow students to work individually or perhaps in small groups
> over the last part of the semester with some individual choice available.
> We do have Sketchpad available, but it has
> not been used extensively so far. Anything with a multicultural emphasis would
> be especially appreciated. You can respond directly to me if you wish:
> Thank you in advance.
> Sean Foley
> Bloomington Jefferson High School
> Bloomington, MN

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