Research Question: Does Math-Arts integration at HMS impact Classroom Learning? A story of Trimester 1 & 2.
Trimester 1 we focused on coordinate plane graphing. Students graphed points from a string art design in all four quadrants and then poked holes using a push pin through their chip board. I never dreamed it would take 4-7 days to complete these pictures. Did students gain from the experience? Absolutely. They loved doing these pictures, but it took an inordinate amount of time away from advancing in math curriculum/concepts. I suppose the real test will be how they perform on the coordinate plane questions on the state test. The second picture went better than the first. Positive take aways: The students were engaged in the activity, asked if they could do more, learned that math can sometimes be fun, were challenged but felt a sense of accomplishment when they completed their pictures and they looked “right.” By the third picture, they figured out early on if they were going wrong with the crochet thread. The sparkly crochet thread was a huge motivator. Who doesn’t like sparkles? What I wish for is more time to complete projects in math, perhaps a creative processes class that could be utilized to teach math concepts with art while the students are still learning content, but I do not feel guilty about taking 4-7 days to complete. Of course, if the students came in closer to grade level, it might not feel so urgent to try and catch them up and get them closer to grade level and the teacher would relax and spend more time with math-art.
Hatchimals! Powerful motivator for one of my math classes since I could not afford to give them all Hatchimals. I started out using my own money and giving them a Hatchimal egg to hatch out after they met their monthly .1 growth on Moby Max which is geared to their ability level. I quickly realized I needed help buying the Hatchimals (which are about $1.40 each if you can locate good deals). So, I had this bright idea for the students to write math stories for the Primary School utilizing the Hatchimals the students earned. They were beyond excited. They are truly happy for others when they reach their .1 growth and will literally swarm around the container as the new eggs are selected. I was letting them choose their own egg, they have colors on the shells and belong to different realms in the Hatcimal Universe, but quickly saw where this was going, so went to dumping all the eggs into a container and having them close their eyes and pick one. If students do not like the one they hatch, they may elect to swap for one already hatched out.
Positive Take Aways
Hatchimal math is contagious. The students are eager to work on MobyMax and are working harder than ever to make .1 growth so they can select new eggs. Some are choosing to come in at lunch time to work on their stories because there just is not enough time in math class to get this done. Again, if there were a creative processes class, projects could be completed in this class. The genuine enthusiasm and support the students are giving to one another is priceless. I should have filmed them making growth.
I have “hatched” more ideas to use with Hatchimals including probability and ratios. “What’s the probability you will draw a platinum egg when there are four out of the 23 in the container?” Now that we have so many, the animals come from different realms and we can sort by colors, features, realms etc. and calculate compound probability problems and have the students work up their own probability problems. Hatchimals are further categorized by “rare,” “ultra-rare,” “common,” and “limited edition, which students can make graphs for the hatched animals for the various features. I should write a book using Hatchimals for Math :0) Maybe I could earn money to buy more Hatchimals. Thank you for funding a large portion of this enterprise. I asked the students if they had any idea how much of my own money I had spent on these and Zane thought for a moment and came up with $150, which I told him was accurate. Sierra did not hesitate when she added “but we are worth it.” :0) Zane then quipped “From expensive toys, comes great joy.” How can you say no? Sierra has earned 11 of the animals and has gone from a beginning MobyMax level of 5.9 to current level of 7.5. I’m hoping some of this growth will show up on the state math test for Sierra and the others.