What did you do in math today

How might mathematics be a subject students talk about with family and friends just like they might with a favourite book or a good movie?

 

Project Category:
Strengthening research brokering work
Topic Area:
Mathematics Education
Ministry Priority
(2011-2013):
Teaching and Learning, Engagement
Project Lead(s):
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Brief Background:
When parents ask, “What did you do in math today?” children often reply “I don’t know” or “Nothing.” How might mathematics be a subject students talk about with family and friends just like they might with a favourite book or a good movie?
Research Context:
Over the last three years, as part of a SSHRC-funded research project called Students as Performance Mathematicians, ten teachers from four different GTA schools and the Project Lead collaborated to: (1) engage students with big math ideas that are interesting to talk about; (2) develop students’ arts-based communication skills for “performing” their learning in and beyond their classroom ; and (3) foster math dialogues between students and parents. Students explored story-based, hands-on math ideas with a low math floor (where students can engage with minimal math knowledge) and a high math ceiling (where concepts can be extended to higher grades), collaboratively authored math dialogues to be shared with their parents, and used drama and song to perform their learning for a wider audience. The proposed project will produce a web-based professional-quality documentary based on the re- implementation of three math activities developed and researched in SSHRC-project classrooms.
Knowledge Mobilization Activities:
Knowledge mobilization is inherent to this project as it produces web- based documentaries. The documentaries are multi-modal and include classroom interactions, student dramatic presentations, music videos, interviews, exploration of math concepts, lesson plans, and discussion of methods used to create the documentary. The documentaries are published online at http://www.researchideas.ca/. In addition, songs from the documentaries are performed for K-8 Ontario schools through an already existing project, the Joy of X, funded by the Fields Institute.
Outcomes:
The proposed project publicly disseminates classroom-based research on ways of engaging students with big ideas of mathematics, developing student math communication skills using the arts, and fostering a home-school math connection. Impact will be enhanced because research stories shared are: (1) selected by participants (teachers, students, parents, and principals); and (2) presented in a multi-modal, multi-linear web-based format.