Monday, August 9, 2010

“When are we ever going to use this?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if no student ever felt compelled to ask that question again? Project teachers should rarely have to answer it. When a project makes math a necessity, the question becomes, “How could we have ever done this without math?”

Imagine an interdisciplinary middle school project that has a lot of math in it. It unfolds across many classrooms and throughout each day.

Our Golden Year

Our Golden Year taps into the fascinating world of gold across many projects and kids learn lots through these subjects and topics:
  • Social Studies –History of gold and world cultures, symbolism and rites, alchemy, gold and conflict, history of gold as legal tender
  • Earth Science/Geography –Gold -a mineral that exists the earth in different forms and is distributed across the earth, prospecting and mining
  • Engineering –Mining, extraction, and refining, gold in medicine, industry, and electronics
  • Chemistry/Physics –Elemental properties, refining gold, alchemy
  • Economics –Gold as a trade commodity, as a monetary standard, the relationship of scarcity and value
  • Language Arts –Historical narratives, symbolism across cultures, in the forms of fairytales, folklore, poetry, playwriting, philosophy of worth and value, journalism about gold
  • Fine Arts –Ornamentation, jewelry making, gilding, gold in art, poetry, theatre, dance and music
Wouldn't this be fun? It would be interesting to have the math teacher take on a new role, helping teachers teach math in the contexts of their projects. What do you think?

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