Grade 7 Math Teacher and new faculty member April Lucas likes to begin the School year with a project. “Collaboration is key in any classroom especially at the beginning of the school year. Assigning group projects to a class who may not be totally familiar with each other can form a sense of community and set the tone for collaboration early on.” This year, Mrs. Lucas started with a PBL (Project Based Learning) on scale modeling.

A scale factor is the ratio between corresponding measurements of an object and a representation of that object.

She first asked students to create an original copy of any design they wanted, using geometric pattern blocks. Some students drew objects they see on a day-to-day basis such as flowers, cars, and buildings. Others arranged the pieces to create abstract objects.

Once their original creations were finished, students were asked to pick any number with a decimal in it to scale their model to that number.

For example, Helena and Libby created a hexagonal design with 7.5 inch sides that they traced onto their poster. They next chose to enlarge their creation by a scale of 2.5 which calculates to 18.75 inch sides.

Students were able to collaborate and have fun with their classmates in a way that is uncommon in most math classrooms. Mrs. Lucas wants her students to develop the same love for math as she does, “I try to get the kids up and moving around as much as possible during my class. Projects and math games are part of our weekly routine. I want my students to think math is a fun kind of challenge. I want them to look forward to coming to my class.”

Bear had some trouble with the project at first but ultimately, he failed up, “Working with my friends was a lot of fun. The project was challenging because I had to restart a few times because my measurements were wrong. But that helped me in the end because I learned to double check my work.”