NFTN- "Math Journal" October 27, 2023

October 29, 2023

Spotlight on Learning: Math Journal

Presented by:  Sebastian Gibson

Math 10


Over the course of this semester, Mr. Gibson’s Math 10 class has taken on a challenge that goes beyond exponents and factoring: a Math Journal! Every couple of weeks, a new, open-ended question is given to the class and students must use logic and reasoning to determine the answer. The questions ranged from guessing the amount of M&Ms in a jar to finding your partner with only a set of global coordinates to dropping barbie dolls from bleachers. It was great to see students apply novel and creative solutions to these questions. The math can be refined on the student side and the parameters can be clarified and improved upon from the teacher side.


      Throughout this semester, we were offered  to attempt extra-curricular challenges   called "Math  Journals". These were small tasks that required out of the box thinking, creativity, and communication skills to solve. For example, one of the challenges, called "Barbie Bungee", required students to build an elastic chain to hold a toy during a drop. The goal was to have your toy get as close to the ground as possible without touching it. We needed to calculate how long to make the chain to achieve this. Mr. Gibson did an excellent job at facilitating this Math Journal and encouraged creative strategies in solving it. One of my favorite Math Journals, the M&M jar, required students to accurately guess the amount of M&Ms in a jar using whatever methods they wanted. Whoever got the closest to the correct amount won all the M&Ms. Mr. Gibson leveraged our insatiable desire for sugar against us, creating a fun side project for anyone who wanted to demonstrate their critical thinking. If one thing could be improved, I'd say that Mr. Gibson should try to enforce 'big ideas' related to whatever the current unit is being taught in his math journals. For example, if the students were learning about Functions, the math journal's solution could require students to create their own functions/system to predict something. All in all, Mr. Gibson has done an excellent job creating Math Journals that can't be solved by a single google search. They're always a pleasure to solve, and the Math Journals made my class experience better!

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