Round-the-Room Algebra

BY Robin Bowerman

Lawrence School

Project Description
Goal: Improve student movement and engagement.
Objectives: Provide space for students to apply Algebra individually or in groups and improve presentation skills.
Activities: Students will use easel-sized portable whiteboards to practice new Algebra concepts, apply concepts to problem-solving and present their results to their peers. Students will be able to stand while problem-solving and move around the classroom to participate in multiple sets of problems.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
Student achievement will be observed by the classroom teacher, special educator and administration as students present their work around the room. Multiple students (or groups) will demonstrate their understanding of concepts and ability to problem-solving on white boards surrounding the room.

Benefit to the students and the school
While touring a private school, I observed students standing and working on math problems for their entire math class. The room had white boards on all walls and each student had space to work through problems. Students were moving and actively engaged for the duration of the class. The teacher, and other students, were able to see different strategies for solving problems. Any misunderstandings were apparent immediately and corrected.

In addition, Bryant University recently built a multi-million dollar Innovative Center focused on developing group problem-solving skills. This building had one big center room with multiple portable whiteboards for group work, as well as many smaller rooms designed to foster active learning and group problem-solving.

Although we cannot have this exact environment, providing 3 or 4 portable whiteboards in combination with the stable classroom board, will provide this opportunity for at least 18 – 22 students per class. Imagine a classroom of 8th graders standing at multiple whiteboards to solve problems individually, in pairs or as a group, then sharing their results. The benefits would continue as long as the boards maintained their condition.

An additional benefit of these boards would be the ability to divide the classroom into smaller instructional areas in support of the co-teaching model.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
Implementation would begin as soon as the whiteboards could be delivered. The concept is easily integrated into our daily lessons.

 

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