Last week, I started the second unit in the 6th grade Connect Mathematics 3 program. This unit is called "Comparing Bits and Pieces" and starts with understanding fractions. The curriculum has students using fraction strips to make sense of fractions and use them to order fractions on a number line. So, I started by providing my students with lots of strips of paper and just presented challenges:
-fold in half
-fold in fourths
-what would come next if the pattern continues (2, 4, 8, ...)
-now try folding in thirds (this is a tough one and some students needed my help or help from others. We discovered an "s" folding method that worked for many students)
-next, try 12ths
-can you do 5ths?
After all this fraction strip folding, the next day I introduced the project. Students were going to create a stop action video showing a fraction strip "folding itself" into 12ths. I picked 12ths because students had to make some decisions about starting with thirds or fourths and those decisions let to interesting folding methods after that to get to 12ths. I thought they would really need to think through their process and how fractions relate to one another by folding paper into 12 equal pieces.
Most of my students have iPads, so I downloaded a free app for them called "Koma Koma." This app lets them easily produce a stop action video. (A few of my students have MacBooks, not iPads, so those students simply took pictures in PhotoBooth and put them all together in iMovie to create the stop action video.)
So after showing them a simple example of stop action that I had made, I gave them some "sandbox" time to play with the new app. Sandbox time is important when you are using new tech because students need to have a chance to play around with the app and see what it can do. Once they have time to play, they can then use it for content. I even created a discussion on our educational platform, Schoology, for students to share any extra creative videos they made with objects that weren't related to the assignment.
Students were given the assignment and a few days to complete. Here is the rubric:
4 (exceeds)- clearly shows each step with labels
3 (meets)- clearly can see the strip being folded into 12 sections
2 (approaching)- strip is being folded, can't be sure from video that it is 12 pieces1 (beginning)- strip is folded, but clearly isn't 12 sections.
The results have been fantastic. An example of one of the videos is above and it's so cute! Plus, it really shows that the student has understanding of the concept. Having students create in math is not only helping their learning, it is also showing them that mathematics can be a creative subject.