After we had our cooking lesson, we got back into our groups to do a re-try of our posters. Another thing that my friend Pam mentioned to me when we were talking about what could have gone wrong was that maybe the paper they were using was too big. What?! Something that simple? It’s funny, because I hadn’t really considered that before she said it, but as soon as she did, it made perfect sense. They only had a certain amount of information to share with other mathematicians, and many groups ended up with lots of white space they didn’t know what to do with. Maybe it wasn’t a factor in our troubles, but it was worth taking a look at. So as we started again, we used smaller posters. 🙂
We tried something else with this investigation, too–we invited another class (who didn’t know anything about our problem) to do our gallery walk with us. This, we thought (ok, well I thought) would give us an even better idea of how we could revise our first drafts, since it was a “cold read” for them–they could only use the information we gave them to make sense of our mathematical ideas, rather than the context of the problem or background knowledge of the process. So we invited Mrs. Hong’s class to work with us. This was a PERFECT situation, because they had just finished a big problem, too, and needed someone to help them revise, too. Match made in heaven, right?
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been thinking about incorporating more with cooking into math next year, and this whole trade-classrooms-and-do-a-gallery-walk thing is another idea my team is considering doing more of. We want to be more purposeful in how we create real-life, meaningful scenarios for our kiddos to solve, then use the knowledge and ideas of each other to help make the work even better. Seeing another version of a problem you’ve also solved is very different than looking at a poster that is completely new. The mathematician has a much bigger job to do for these new viewers; every word, number and symbol they write is a clue to help them figure out the puzzle.
So what have you done with posters, gallery walks or real-life problem solving in your class? What advice do you have for us as we work to continue these ideas with our mathematicians for next year? We’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂