Much of my teaching is discovery lessons, interactive games/whiteboards, and project based learning. This year, I want to add problem based learning to the mix. I do a little of this now, but not nearly enough. This year, it is going to be a focus, especially for 7th grade.
7th grade has always been tough for me. I teach them two years in a row, so I’m not new to them anymore. Plus, the math becomes more abstract as we segway into algebra. I am trying to make 7th grade math just as (if not even more) exciting than 6th grade math. As 7th grade math is an extension of the topics they learned in 6th grade, I also want to be sure I am challenging them, and that they are growing. I changed homework workbooks again this year (third time in four years). I change up the projects every year. Sometimes, we hit gold and I find something they really love. But 7th grade can be a tough crowd, and lessons that thrill 6th graders can fall flat in 7th. So, I’ll pretty much do anything to get them excited about math!
This year, over half of my rising 7th grade participated in my Math Club last year. They willingly gave up their lunch and recess time (even in the last weeks of school) to learn more math! They loved playing with the pythagorean theorem and even the quadratic formula. They gave up an additional recess to help me record the Draw-It game. And, they had a fit over the Oreo question. This class loves a challenge and I believe they are ripe for problem solving.
I am excited about my plan for this year and I hope I am up to the challenge! I will keep combing the MathTwitterBlogosphere for resources. I plan on starting with the Math Forum’s Problem of the Week, everything Fawn says, Exeter Problem Sets, NRich, and incorporating Mathalicious material. There is also a Middle School Problem Solving page on the TMC wiki. Right now it is pretty empty, but I plan on filling it up as I find more resources.
If you have a favorite problem solving site (or even a favorite problem). Please put the link in the comments! I could use the help!