Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best Way to Use Theater in The Classroom! Teach Math in A Whole New Way!

Hello to all my blog viewers,

Thanks for being patient with the other two methods of teaching algebra via a skit, which I mentioned in my last two blogs.  You have seen me recommend having you, the teacher, present the skit, and you have read about how a video presentation of a skit can enhance learning in the classroom.

These two methods had great potential, but also left room for much confusion and unreliability of resources, since having the teacher present all the information can be confusing, having a video presentation can lead to technological errors, and both seem to have little student involvement, which means the lesson is not very exciting and the students are not able to learn from doing things first hand.

Never fear, the third method is here: Student Presentation

Student Presentation:

What is it?
The Student Presentation method of using a skit to teach an Algebra lesson is self-explanatory.  The students present the math skits to the class.  This method directly involves the students and since they have to use reciprocal teaching, teach one another, they will grow to understand the lesson better than just writing out the problems and practicing them.

How Teachers Can Use This Tool in The Classroom
There are steps you can take so that the lesson is organized and the most beneficial for your students.

Make sure you have enough granola bars for the entire class and have signs made out of string and paper before class time. (Need to make a card with a question mark drawn on it as well)  Bring extra of these for the entire class since your students will need to form groups later and use them to make their own.

You will also need to print out and cut out various algebra problems and bring them to class so you can use them later on in the lesson where you assign them to different groups.

Step 1. You should write out the problem on the board and then show students how to solve it algebraically.

If you don't remember the problem I chose for our example was 3x + 10 - 5 = 20

Step 2.  Ask for volunteers from the class and choose 5 students to represent the 5 variables in the problem. Then, explain to them that each of them will symbolize the 3, x, 10, 5, and the 20 and handout the signs they will be wearing that has the variables written on them.

Step 3.  After explaining this to them, tell them that they will hold a certain amount of granola bars according to what variable they are, except for x who will hold a question mark instead because we are not sure how much x has.  Tell the class that after they solve the problem, they will know how much granola bars x has.

Step 4. Now that the logistics are covered, you will watch and help if need be, while the student presenters solve the problem by moving to different sides of the room and using markers to color on their signs as the problem progresses.

For example, one student may be the -5 and will write on his sign a + 5 underneath of it, cross both out and walk to the side with the twenty and write twenty five on the board above them.  This will give students a visual understanding of what mathematical work is happening.

At the same time as doing this they will give their granola to whoever is representing number twenty and this will go on until the problem is solve.  Through out this process ask the class questions about what each person should do next.  Reward those who answer correctly with a granola bar.

Step 5.  Give your student volunteers a round of applause and thank them for their help.  Give them and the rest of the class that did not answer questions granola bars.

Step 6.  Now, ask the class if they understand the importance of equality in algebra equations and how to isolate x in order to solve for it.  After this you should tell them that all of them are going to get into groups of five and tell them that they are going to get up in front of the class and do the same thing.

Step 7. I broke this up into several steps because I have been learning in my Education 160 class, Productive Learning Environment: Classroom Management, that you have to be very explicit with your students or else conflict can arise from misunderstandings.

Step 7.1 Tell your class that they can pick their groups but they must do and move to their groups area quickly and quietly.  Then, you will assign them a problem.

Step 7.2 Tell them they must work out their problem on paper first.  Then, they have to write a script that tells them how they will act out each part.  They should give their variables personalities and accents as well as mime the props that symbolize the variables they are portraying as well.  Think of it as acting.

Step 7.2 Tell your students that they must have be appropriate scenarios such as baseball players trying to figure out where the ball went, and the ball would be x.  Or maybe a group of construction workers trying to get paid, but they don't know how to find out, in this case their older colleague would tell them, and he would be x.

Step 7.3 Give them probably the rest of the class period and fifteen minutes to a half-hour of the next class to finish and practice.  This time period may vary depending on class lengths and such.  Then, watch and grade the performances on how clearly they understand algebraic equations and creative presentation.

Evaluation of Student Presentation Based on Criteria:
This method of presentation used scaffolding by starting with the simple problem on the board and then expanded to a skit performance of the math problem.

  • Accessibility of Resources: The resources are very accessible because you are bringing them with you to class and they are easy to find.
  • Student Involvement: Student involvement is at its highest because all of the students present what they have learned to the class.
  • Accommodation of Different Learning Styles: Since the students are working to together to analyze, write, discuss, and perform the skit to the class various learning styles are covered so that many students can learn.  For example the interpersonal, visual/spatial, logical/mathematical, and verbal/linguistic learners are represented in this activity.
Overall: ***** stars out of 5 stars.  This form of presenting a skit to teach a math lesson is wonderful! The students learn and grow together while interactivity in a fun way. After all, education theorist, Vygotsky, stated that "learning is a social process" and that in a group setting "individual knowledge becomes social knowledge" (as stated in The Learning Classroom)

Well, there you have it.  The students presenting the math skit is the best.

Thanks for reading.
Keep Clicking and look for what's next,
Aliana ~Theater Lover~
Future Teacher

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