Project-based learning or Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is one of the best teaching strategies for engaging students in realistic learning activities. Students are not only interested, they are also learning math in the process.
Because their minds are engaged, critical thinking is taking place!
This is often referred to as critical thinking, minds-on, or inquiry-based teaching and learning.
PBL activities are designed to answer a real-world question or solve real-world problem. A good PBL problem provokes students to struggle with central concepts and principles in math.
These problems reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom.
PBL is typically completed by groups of students working together to solve a problem, as they reflect upon their own ideas, prior knowledge and experiences, and communicate their recommendations based on findings.
Math Project Based Learning Activities
The following are examples of Problem Based Learning activities:
Repainting Tennis Courts
Determine the total cost of supplies.
The number of gallons of paint to cover all 8 courts if they apply two coats of green paint on each court, along with two coats of white paint on the lines of each court.
The cost of all the paint combined.
The grand total spent on paint and supplies.
Contextual information needed by students include:
Dimensions of a tennis court
Total number of lines, along with line dimensions on a tennis court.
How many square feet does a gallon of exterior paint cover.
Cost of a gallon of exterior paint.
Cost of a combo pack of roller frame, roller cover, and paint tray.
Cost of an appropriately sized paint brush.
Cost of any other materials they feel they need.
Additional Math PBL Activity Themes
Locate definitions of Tessellations on the Internet to compare with the real-world examples of tessellations (for example M. C. Escher’s work).
Explore the many different areas of math found in the NCAA basketball tournament.
Use the NCAA bracket to determine which team or teams they want to follow in the tournament.
Find fractions, decimals, and percents; probability statistics; make predictions; and look for patterns within the basketball statistics of the team(s) they selected.
Make connections with and between the math contained within the NCAA tournament.
Explain the importance of mathematics in basketball.
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