Advice for Teaching Poetry through Song Lyrics
3 Challenging Seventh Grade Math Projects
Middle school teachers often use seventh grade math projects to help their students gain a deeper understanding of the course material. These projects are most effective when they are engaging, relevant to the students’ lives and closely related to topics that have been studied most recently in class. Math projects should also be challenging and thought-provoking for students. Below are three well-constructed math projects suitable for use in seventh grade mathematics classes.
1. Survey/Interview Project
One of the best projects for seventh grade students requires students to conduct a survey of their peers, adults they know, local residents or other such groups of people. Students can then use the results of the survey to create graphs and spreadsheets, calculate statistics and draw conclusions about the people they interviewed. This project allows for a great deal of customization based on the competency and independence of the students. For example, teachers can either assign a specific issue to students, or they can allow students to choose the topic they’d like to study. Teachers can also allow students to develop their own survey questions, or they can provide specific questions for students to ask.
2. Construct a Carnival Game
For students learning about probabilities, studying gambling and carnival games can be very helpful and entertaining. These games are typically constructed so that the probability of losing is higher than the probability of winning. Otherwise, the creator of the game couldn’t earn a profit. Teachers can bring this real-life example of probabilities into the classroom by asking students to analyze the probability of winning various carnival or casino games. Students can then use this information to draft a report that describes which games offer the most potential winnings for players. For an even more challenging activity, teachers can ask students to create their own carnival game and then calculate the probabilities of various outcomes. To provide students with an additional incentive, teachers can offer a prize to the student who creates the game with the highest potential “profit” margin.
3. Financial Planning
Students in middle school often discuss important financial topics, such as interest rates, business and basic investments. Unfortunately, these topics can be somewhat boring to students when they are discussed only in theory. In order to challenge students and make financial topics more relevant, however, teachers can require students to participate in a realistic financial planning project. For example, students may be given a certain amount of pretend money to invest in a variety of different securities and savings accounts, or they may be required to draft a financial plan for a theoretical “business” they plan to start. Students can then compare their ideas with those of their classmates.
Students learn best when they are involved in the subject matter. By allowing students to complete hands-on projects in conjunction with traditional instruction, teachers can greatly increase the chances of subject matter retention. Regardless of the project chosen, teachers should do their best to make sure that all students are able to actively participate. Teachers should also provide guidance and support throughout the project to ensure that students remain on the right track.