California Standards for the Teaching Profession: Standard One
ENGAGING & SUPPORTING ALL STUDENTS IN LEARNING
1.1 Connecting studentsí prior knowledge, life experience, and interests with learning goals
1.2 Using a variety of instructional strategies and resources to respond to studentsí diverse needs
1.3 Facilitating learning experiences that promote autonomy, interaction, and choice
1.4 Engaging students in problem solving, critical thinking, and other activities that make subject matter meaningful
1.5 Promoting self-directed, reflective learning for all students

 
THE QUESTION

 For this assignment, I worked with a small group of students in my fifth grade classroom. I began by explaining that we would be working with graphs to decide the answer to a question. The prompt was that the three students were going to open a student store. They would each be in charge of choosing a type of snack to sell, such as chips or soda. They would then decide what types or brands to sell at the store. They could each sell only two brands of their snack in the store. They would create a question to ask in a survey, and would survey the class as their test consumers. The students would then create a graph of the results. From this graph, they would answer their question.


 
RESULTS

 I observed several things in the process of this assignment. First, the students, who are normally resistant to engaging in math discussions, jumped at the prompt. As soon as I said that they would be pretending to run a store, they jumped to deciding what they would sell and asked if they could survey the class to find out what they would want to buy. The rest of the project ran itself. I asked a few questions here and there, such as helping to limit the number of choices that could be made for each snack, and wording on questions to help with clarity. The class responded well, and was interested in the results of the survey. In the spirit of their excitement, I allowed some freedom in how the students chose to graph their results, which led to an interesting mix of picture representation and abstract representation, lacking slightly in accuracy. If we had be able to continue the project over a few days, I might have used the first graphs for discussion, and further refined their results. As it was, I was so pleased with their interest level and desire to try out what they could do on their own that I chose not to do that. Each student had clear results and were pleased with the answers they could derive from the graphs of their results, and the project was an overall success.

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