The ImagineIt project that began during the summer of 2015 with little knowledge of what it would become, has evolved into multiple units that focus on applications of mathematics in aspects all around students. These units have edged their way into the classroom instruction of all of the junior level teachers at my school, as we now work together to create an interdisciplinary approach for the content we teach. During the spring, we have set forth several projects that we hope to have students participate in. These projects are not the work that we do on a daily basis, but rather a cumulative work where each subject tries to tie into an over-arching theme.
The Mathematics of Elections: (February/March 2016) The math part of this project will focus on probability and statistical analysis. The project will end with the history teacher and principal debating an issue in front of the junior class. Prior to the debate, students will create election posters. Students will also create election polls. Students will vote for a candidate after the debate and tally the results of that election.
Math in Advertising: (March/April 2016) This will extend the discussion of probability and statistical analysis, as we will discuss patterns in money among businesses as well as the effects of market research in advertising. This unit will end (hopefully) in a trip to a silk screening company that manufactures all kinds of t-shirts and sportswear, including jerseys for several NFL teams.
Rockets!: (April/May 2016) The physics teacher and I will be guiding students through building, blasting off, and (hopefully) recovering model rockets. I am going to use this as an opportunity to discuss quadratics (parabolic flight path) and trigonometry.
What is Math: (June 2016) I began my ImagineIT project with a quickfire of sorts, where students worked in teams of three to four students to create a poster answering the question, "What is Math?". At the end of the year, I hope to ask the same question and have students repeat that assignment. I hope to see a shift in the dynamic of answers from computational answers to answers that include applications of mathematics, in both the natural and man-made world. Because of this project, there has been significant changes among all of my Junior-level colleagues. We have all decided to ask students to define their interpretation of our subject. After a very successful Cold War Art Exhibition, the Junior Team and I have decided that we are going to leave our mark on a very plain building. We hope to take these posters that students make and have them plan to incorporate the most important aspects into a mural, defining each subject area.
Other happenings: I hope to incorporate an activity that utilizes the farm on the schools campus to complete at least one or two math activities during the spring. I am working on incorporating the Agriculture Department in these junior-level units.
*Note: I use the word hopefully quite a bit above. There are imperfections in every plan. The administration in my building have been very supportive thus far and all plans are contingent upon their continued support.