Thursday, October 28, 2010

And the winners are. . .

Remind me never to assign a project again to be due on the last day of the quarter.  I thought that with my honors precalc kids it would be ok and it might've been if there hadn't been technology involved.

The project that I'm referring to is my Polynomials Photo Project using Geogebra (I first talked about it here).  The basic gist (jist?) of the problem was that the kids were to take an original picture (not from the internet, anyway) and fit a polynomial to it.  At the time we were talking degrees, end behavior, zeros, etc.  Then they were to upload the picture to geogebra, plot some points on it, and find a polynomial to fit. These are the requirements that I gave the kids.  That all worked fine and the kids had a good time with it.

The problems that we ran into were when it came time to turn it in.  I wanted both a hard copy (I posted some on the wall in my room just in time for my former-art-teacher-now-assistant-principal to come to my room this week to observe - score!) and an electronic copy.  Geogebra has a wiki on their website where you can set up an account and upload files to it that I thought we'd take advantage of.  I didn't want all the kids to have to set one up, so I made an account and a folder then gave the kids the username and password to it so they could upload their projects.  The majority of uploads were problem-free, but some kids just couldn't get it to work; I don't know if there's some sort of storage limit or what, but I tried for them, too, and couldn't get some files to upload.  It really ended up being a hassle - I told some kids not to worry about it after they'd tried and tried but then forgot I told them and docked them points.  Some kids got frustrated and then had to have their hands held through the process.  Yuck.  I'm thinking that when I do this again (and I'd like to do it in Algebra 2 next semester) I'll just tell the kids to e-mail me a copy of their word document that they're pasting their picture, equation, and caption on.  Keeping track of the e-mails will probably be easier.

Without further ado, here are several of my favorites.

My #1 favorite.  This was a door in this kid's house.  I wonder if he's ever seen it mathematically before?

I've never really liked hostas before.  Maybe now I will.

A picture of the Taj Mahal from a family vacation.  I wouldn't have thought it was an original picture unless I saw the date stamp in the corner.

This one I just thought was super cool.

One of the neatest things about this project was that I really learned a lot about my students.  One girl took a picture of a horse at her mom's farm - who would've known?  One boy had a picture of himself riding a dirt bike... I saw a lot of travel pictures... several of Niagara Falls.... one of her mom's "frog obsession". 

The other neatest thing was that my kids started looking around and seeing math in things they look at every day.  I've done my job.


Kim Hughey said...

Two things:

1. Amazing Pictures!

2. What were you thinking? Ha, I've done the same thing by assigning a major project due at end of quarter. My life was a living hell. Ran into exact same problems as you only these were back in the days when powerpoint was new and the only way to save it was onto a floppy disk. Lots of problems!

KFouss said...

1. Thanks!

2. I know. Dumb. Thank goodness for flash drives and e-mail!

T. Banks said...


1) How easy is it for the kids to use Geogebra?

2)Is a week long enough to do the project and what are your thoughts on groups 1 to be done in class and another out of it?

3)Did you use a certain rubric for it, or grade one section more than the other?

KFouss said...

Geogebra is pretty intuitive, I think, especially for the kids. You may want to do some playing around with it on your own before giving an assignment so you know what to expect.

A week would be plenty - this would seriously take 10 minutes at most once they have a picture to use. I love the idea of the kids working together on one picture before doing their own. (Think I'll steal that idea next year!) I found that my honors Precalc kids didn't have any trouble with my directions or coming up with a polynomial but there were all sorts of issues in my Algebra 2 classes (because they
didn't read directions and would try to just give up). Having them do one in pairs would definitely help in that situation. I'd think any more than 2 people working together would be too much.