Challenge #11: A new project idea and the ISTE nets

A thinking out loud post that is cross posted from my Flat Classroom Teacher Blog.


OK, I admit.  I was doing great with the Flat Classroom Teacher assignments until I had to start aligning my project to standards (Challenge #11).  This is the part I don’t like very much. Part of the problem has been the lack of a good project idea.  My initial thought was to use past projects to satisfy the requirements of this course, but to be honest, that’s just boring.  So, here is my new (not boring, but possibly very complicated) project idea: Kids 4 Kiva.

I’m already having second thoughts about the name as I think it through, but as I have already started the wiki I think I will stick with it for now.  This project is really just an excuse to somehow use Kiva in my classroom.  There is so much good stuff on Kiva that I feel compelled to try and design a project around it.  The obvious focus of the project is to have students raise money and decide who to lend money to.  The problem is that I am having a hard time figuring out how that can fit into any curricula that I teach.  So I have decided that my Math 7 class is going to figure out how to raise the most money from a bake sale, and we’ll use Kiva to figure out where the money should go.  This means that my Math class is going to have to decide on the following:

  • The most cost effective bake sale recipes.  To do this they will have to discover the cost of each ingredient and the actual cost to make each bake sale item.  I can imagine some fun times looking at recipes and some good math activities around fractions and ratios.  There will also have to be a field trip to the local grocery store to find out prices and amounts.
  • What kinds of bake sale items sell the best.  This might have to take the form of a survey etc.
  • How much to charge for each item and how many of each item to make.

Once the money is raised the students will have to decide who to give it too.  I can imagine this taking place in a Socials Class where teams of students have to make a case for why a particular Kiva recipient is the best person to give the loan to (there would have to be some pretty clear criteria for this so that it is more about loan viability and greatest impact, not a popularity contest).

My thinking is that this could be a really neat global Math project if set up properly.  Students from each country could share their recipes and the cost of different items on Wiki pages.  This could also include pictures from the grocery store trips.  This might lead to some interesting observations about different prices in different countries.  It might also be interesting if each school took on making an item using a recipe from a different country.

It would also be interesting if students could share the calculations they do to figure out the per item cost of their bake sale items.  Trying to figure out how other students calculate and communicate mathematically would be a really good exercise.

I’m not sure how to get students working in virtual teams as the actual bake sales will happen in each individual country, but I will keep thinking on this (see comments).

So, on to the NETS.

1. Creativity and Innovation.  I think this project could satisfy the following sub-criteria:

  • Identify trends and forecast probabilities.  This is what they would have to do in the process of deciding what to make and how much to make.

2. Communication and Collaboration.  The wiki work would allow students to:

  • Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making.

  • I think this standard is what this project is really all about:  it’s an authentic problem; students have to plan and manage activities to develop a solution; and they have to collect and analyse data to make informed decisions.

Hmm, by trying to align this project to the NETS I realise that a lot of the digital literacy standards might be hard to meet.  One way to meet more of them would be to set up a Wiki template that each group used to communicate their research and decisions.

It might also be fun if each group had to create a promo video for their choice of bake sale item and the video could go on their wiki page.

One Comment

  1. If I wanted this project to include global collaboration would it be possible to put students in virtual groups that are responsible for peer checking each other’s math strategies and calculations? I’m not sure a wiki is the best platform for this as it takes a few steps to get anything done. Possible a platform like Posterous would be more seamless and successful as students could just email and tag pictures of their work. I wonder if there is a collaborative site that will allow multiple users to comment and write on picture. Voicethread does this but requires a log in.

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