Middle school math

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by snickydog, May 30, 2007.

  1. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    May 30, 2007

    Hello! I have an interview for a middle school math position in a couple weeks, and I was wondering how you teach middle school math and keep it fun.
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    May 30, 2007

    I don't teach middle school math, but my guess it to make math relevant to their everyday lives.... Use real examples...etc.


    Where is Aliceacc? She will know the answers.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 31, 2007

    Sorry-- Peter was working late last night and I did a solo with the kids!

    As Miss Frizz said, I've done a lot of real life stuff with my 7th graders this year:

    -When we did adding decimals, they learned how to write a check and balance a checkbook. In fact, Monday's test will revisit that topic: now that we've done percents, they know how to determine sales tax (8.625% around here!) and how to mentally determne a decent tip.

    - Some of the projects they've done this year:
    1) They watched an episode of Cyberchase on PBS and done a writeup on it.
    2) They had penpals in England. We sent a list of prices of common items, and asked out penpals to give the prices in the UK. Then I got the exchange rate for that day and the kids did the currency conversions
    3) We just did a scale drawing project. I gave them the scale and printed up a shopping list from IKEA, complete with furniture sizes. I gave them an $800 budget and they "shopped" for furniture, decorated their room, wrote up a receipt for their purchases and paid me by check.

    I also tried to keep the problems reality based whenevert possible. So when we talked about determining interest the other day, I talked about the house across the street (you can just barely see it through the trees.) I told them that it probably cost about $400,000 and we were going to "buy" it. We determined the simple interest (OK, not how it's really done, but close enough for 12 year olds.). Then we talked about the total payback (over a million dollars!) and the monthly mortgage payment.

    I'm interested in seeing what the other middle school teachers have to say. (Sure, now that I'm moving back up to Algebra in the fall!)
     
  5. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    May 31, 2007

    Mix it up - some days you might want to start with mental math, other days a daily math challenge. They love review games like jeopardy (www.quia.com is great for online games).

    I echo the previous posters - try to make it as revelant as possible. They love anything hands-on, or involving groups. Some projects I did that went over well:
    - statistics - everyone measured their height, arm span, foot size, head circumference, etc and then we created various graphs displaying the data (we did this is Sept - we'll be remeasuring to see how much we've grown soon!).
    - probability - coloured blocks in brown paper bags . . . tried to predict theoretitical probability using experiemental . . . .
    - creating christmas wrap using transformations

    I'm also a big believer that it is OK to play music while they are doing their quiet seat work . . . it seems to help their focus and makes time pass quicker.

    I like Aliceacc's ideas - I'll be "borrowing" for next year!!

    Good luck with your interview :)
     
  6. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    May 31, 2007

    Thanks for the great ideas! I love the hands-on kind of concepts. Fun stuff! :) Apple25, what kind of music do you find works best (focus and minimal dancing in their seats!)?
     
  7. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Jun 1, 2007

    That;s quite the story - they make fun of my "wierd" music, but listen to it all the same. I have some classical (not a lot), some celtic, celtic punk (they LOVE that one), and everyone's favorite, Johnny Cash. What can I say? They are a "different" class (but I love them all the same!). I don't have a problem with "the wiggles" - they know if any foolishness goes on, I turn it off. Plus, it is really soft so in order to hear it they have to be quiet. Sometimes I let them listen to their own stuff, but not too much - usually someone is jumping to skip a track (they know I am very strict re: lyrics).

    Have a great weekend!!
     
  8. mnteacherguy

    mnteacherguy Companion

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    Jun 2, 2007

    Important in most districts in middle school....

    you are teaching the whole child...not just your subject
    make it relavent to them
    be willing to support "goofy" things in school
     
  9. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    When I taught sixth grade math, they loved games. We played tic-tac-toe, bingo, hang-man, war, and even a twister game with our lessons. It seems to take longer to prepare the lessons when a game is involved, but worth it when they learn that day's objective with little to no whining!
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I teach 8th and have a mix of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I have so much to teach that I rarely have time for games, but when we do, they love the game Pico, Fermi, Bagels - a game of deductive reasoning. My group is very small - around 10 kids - and I have no problem keeping them engaged. I constantly use references to the 'real world' (banking, mortgages, loans, sale prices, recipes, marketing, stocks, probability). I also constantly psych them out about algebra by relating what they are learning now to how they will use it later on.
     
  11. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jun 7, 2007

    Making math fun...

    My students tell me my class is lots of fun, but they also say they work hard. They are able to play games - "24", integer bingo, use # cubes and playing cards to generate problems involving integers, etc. They really enjoyed "purchasing" stock, logging daily prices and computing their gains and losses (http://quotes.nasdaq.com/quote.dll?page=nasdaq100).

    Our unit on data collection involved students investigating a specific endangered species, answering specific questions about the species, preparing graphs and charts and making a presentation to the class. (http://www.fws.gov/endangered/wildlife.html)

    Along the way we did a lot of real world problem solving, students made a lot of presentations of their work and we used quite a few manipulatives.

    Personally, I think the key with MS is to keep whatever you are doing focused on the kids. They like to be the center of attention!
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 7, 2007

    Pam, would you check the address for nasdaq? It didn't come up for me. Thanks.
     
  13. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jun 7, 2007

    Hmm...I'm no computer guru so I don't know why, but if you click on the link it won't work. If you cut and paste the link into an address bar you will be at the right place. Sorry. Try to cut and paste and see if you get to the right place. :)
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Yes, that worked. Thanks.
     

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