One of the best ways to really learn something so that it sticks with you is to teach it to someone else. Giving students a project that gets them thinking through a mathematical process and allows them to express their creative side is always a win-win! The following example involves solving quadratic equations. A skill in Algebra that, while important, can very easily become boring and meaningless. And while I believe it is always helpful for students to have multiple options and methods to use for solving problems, I have seen that it can become easy for them to confuse and mix together different strategies.
This project attempts to help students look at multiple approaches to solving quadratic equations, helping them to study for a test, better understand what all the pieces are and how they fit together, as well as internalize the information by learning it well enough to explain to someone else.
I used the R.A.F.T approach, which stands for Role, Audience, Format, Topic. This is a quick and helpful way to bring focus to a project on virtually any topic. This specific project uses the role of Mathematician (the student), an audience of Algebra students, a “How To” book as the format and (obviously) quadratic equations as the topic of interest. The object, then, of your students is to design a clear and concise “how to” book of explanations for solving quadratic equations. Even though I usually only taught 2 or 3 methods for solving during our classroom instruction, I required students to include 4 or 5 methods in their booklet. This required them to do some research on their own, and compare other methods to what they already knew.
Included in the download below are some tips for using this in your class, an explanation handout for your students and a sample grading rubric. If you prefer different requirements, feel free to use your own rubric, or you can use the one I have included.
And remember, the R.A.F.T. model is easily adapted to use with other topics or formats, so if you would like your students to explore some other math topic in greater depth, simply create your own! Or, give them a few different formats to choose from (just be sure to give clear guidelines for your expectations for each).
Click the link below to access the quadratic equations project guide!
~Math Geek Mama