Friday, May 7, 2021

Math Play Date Professional Learning

One of the first things I was tasked with at my new school was planning a whole day of professional learning for the entire math department. My passion is to make math super fun in all the classrooms so I knew I had to make the professional learning fun for my teachers. Every good thing has a theme so that's where I started! I made lists of activities and games and EDTech that I had loved doing in my classroom. I then sorted the list into categories and from there the theme just popped off the page! A MATH PLAY DATE! What math nerd would not want to spend the day "playing" with math?! It was perfect!

Once I started working on the agenda, I was able to group our Play Date into five categories. The hardest part was scaling down the number of activities and choosing which ones to keep because I had way too many! I tried to be intentional with the activities I chose so that they could be adapted for any math course. I wanted the activities to spark ideas for ways they could use it for their course. I created this placemat to be used with sticky notes to jot their ideas down for each section of the day. 

A proper play date would also need decorations to make it feel whimsical! I thought about doing a balloon arch, but thought that was too extra even for me! Plus I needed all the space to set up the activities. So I just went with table centerpieces and the math activities all setup made it complete. 

I wanted the materials and handouts they would use during the PD to feel like an interactive notebook so they could experience the amazing-ness of them! I created a faux notebook with tabs for each section of the agenda and play date. This way they could at least see how one worked.

Movement in a classroom is so important! Classrooms that incorporate movement have increased engagement and discourse. It is said that students need to move every 20 minutes. Even if you just have students stand to talk, they are moving! You can be simple or get creative with the movement in your classroom.

Dance Dance Transversal is one of my all time faves! You can read more about how this looks and get my files here. I highly recommend you try this out! Another great moving activity is life-size Twister. Twister works great with vocabulary but could be used for anything. Add it to your review activities! Look at how much fun these math teachers are having at their play date!

Math modeling is one of the things I added to my math classroom that really impacted student learning. Modeling is just having students experience as much of the actual process as possible and only jumping in when needed. Give them a general problem like, "How fast does this RC Car go?"or "How many cups would have to stack to equal Mrs. Richardson's height?" Let the students guess the right answer first. Ask them to speculate what information they need to figure it out. Have them draw a sketch and organize the information matters most. 

Math games keep the excitement level up! I once had a student tell me that her older brother said all they ever did in my class was play games. And I am totally okay with that! Here are a couple that can be used with any content with little prep for days when you just need a break in the action. Function Auction is one of my all time faves! You can read about it here. ZAP! is the greatest review game of all time and I tell you why here! Basing playing cards on real card games like UNO and Go Fish are always a big hit too. 

For this PD, I used Desmos and Sphero EDU to get them excited about incorporating tech into their lessons. Marble Slides in Desmos are so addicting and as expected, they did not want to stop! I also have a class set of Sphero robots that I received with grants. The possibilities are endless with these little guys! You can see one way I used them here

Math and art are the perfect couple! There are so many math standards found in art, I love incorporating them as often as possible. Again, because I was trying to be general so my teachers could adapt the things learned at this PD for their content, I went generic with origami and being a designer.

I went with modular origami because engineers at BYU are designing solar sails for use in space inspired by origami! Watch this video to see how cool these compliant mechanisms are! Origami has a place in all kinds of geometry standards from constructions to vertex to crease patterns. There are many articles out there about the math behind origami and you will be in awe of them all!

One of my favorite projects is the water park design. This can be used with linear relationships or Pythagorean theorem, and even transversals and angle relationships. For the PD, I had my teachers design it for distance between points using Pythagorean theorem. They had a great time creating! 

My goal for this professional development session was to get them off campus and spark some ideas for ways they could make the math come alive for their students. My passion is creating experiences for students that makes learning fun and makes the math stick. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and that makes me so happy! I love that they are willing to try new things for their students. Please feel free to use anything from this professional development. The files are below and you can always reach out if you need anything at all!


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