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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Decorating my classroom

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From: Laurie Schroeder

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001112615:32:56
Subject: decorating my classroom

I teach high school and I always hang student work up on the wall and they all love it. In geometry we do tanagrams and they have to make some of the traditional puzzles and then I have them create their own design. In Alg II / Trig they create a quilt square with horizontal, vertical and origin symmetry and then write the equation for each line. This is done on one graph. On the other copy they color their design. Nothing keeps them quite as coloring does. In Math Topics they do polar graphs and do some book exercises and then they also have to design their own equation, tell the type of graph (lemniscate, cardiod, rose, etc) and trace it in color pencil/color. When we do transformations, they pick a simple design and translate it, glide reflection, rotation, all on the same graph and each is in a different color and labeled and these are hung up on the walls. We do this with dilations and contractions too and the scale factors are labeled. In Calculus we do a simple lab with distance, velocity and accleration by throwing a ball up and finding the equations. They have to draw the graphs and write up five questions and find the solutions. These can be done on poster board and displayed. The point is that many homework assignments can be displayed. In is a chance to show off their work and to peak the interest of other students. If you are into posters: pythagorean theorem, fibonnaci numbers, golden rectangle, fractals, different multiplication methods, different numeration systems (Mayan, Eqyptian, Babylonian,etc.), different numeration bases, string or line designs, polygonal numbers, pick a mathematician and list his major contributions, have students list the 10 commandments of math or the 5 commandments of each chapter. There are lots of possibilities. Create a math humor bullentin board - find comics in the paper (laminate these when you find them, and there are lots in the papers) or have students come up with a cartoon or graffiti or pun (Math is sum fun . . . know your limits, don't drink and derive . . . geometry is just plane fun . . . these can be colored or whatever. Have students find articles in the paper that deal with math. Your possibilities are endless. Get a quote of the day by a mathematician or put up a trivia fact on the board (a pentadecagon is a 15 sided polygon, or Euclids famous book is the Elements. It's amazing how the students ask questions or ask 'what is that' or is there a name for a 25 sided polygon? There curiosity is peaked and they find the math is more than a problem in a book. Their are some great resources that I have found for this kind of stuff. It takes time to gather and do some of this stuff, but quite often students will bring in stuff and you often reach out to those who aren't enjoying math as much as the teacher. Displaying student work is the biggest thrill for me and for the students and their neatness, creativity and math accuracy really improves when they get the idea that maybe this is something that Miss S is going to put up. They take pride and ownership in the work. My room is just filled with MATH!!!

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