Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teamwork Matters: Making Math T-Shirts

Start the year by focusing on the fact that students learn better when they work together. Emphasize that your math class is a math team, and as a team the way you work together matters. 

Ask students if they belong to any teams. Then ask them to tell you what's important when it comes to successful teamwork. After that, you may want to show one of my all time favorite teamwork videos, and ask students to look for the attributes of successful teamwork as they watch the video:

After the film, acknowledge that like the Panyee soccer team, most teams have T-shirts. Say that the class will have some fun with numbers as they make paper T-shirts and a class bulletin board that celebrates your dynamic math team.

To make the T-shirts, do the following:
  1. Set up a computer and printer in the classroom. Have students take a good picture of their face and print it. I use PhotoBooth for this. Students go to the picture stand, take their photo, and print it one after another.
  2. Hand out the number activity guide which includes a T-shirt template.
  3. Allow students to work with calculators to complete and check their work. 
  4. As students work, observe their efforts and listen to their conversation. This observation will serve as a good initial assessment of student effort and need--an assessment that will inform future lessons.
  5. Have students complete the task in pencil, check the work with a friend, and then check with you. Coach students with regard to correct completion of the work. When complete, have students write over the numbers and words with a fine line pen, write their number on their t-shirt and add the fact data to the front of the T-shirt or just below, tape their picture on top and hand it in for a class bulletin board that will display all the students pictures with a title such as "Teamwork Matters: Marvelous Mathematicians."
  6. When students are done, they can work together on the enrichment activities included on the number activity guide. 
This project is a great start-of-year activity, one that provides assessment, fun with numbers, vocabulary/fact review, and an emphasis on teamwork. I recommend.