If your students have no or little experience with PBL, you may have to begin the first day by explaining the process. They can also watch the video Project Based Learning: Explained (approximately 4 minutes) or a video on PBL and mathematics (approximately 30 minutes).
Introduce the challenge. Can we learn enough about geometry to convince other students that it’s important to life?
2. Describe the scenario and the task. Clarify, if necessary
The following has been written for the student audience.
Euclid, the “Father of Geometry,” recently (well, not so recently…in the third century BC) decided to start a teen club for interested geometry students. Euclid needs a marketing campaign to explain the importance of geometry and the basic principles. This won’t be enough, however. He needs a clever name for the club and an engaging marketing message to appeal to an audience who may not know how geometry is used in the real world, or why it’s critical to so many areas of modern life. Fortunately, through the benefits of time travel, he can take advantage of the Internet. His goal is to market the club to teenagers. To do this, he has invited several teams of young experts to compete for the prize of best presentation. Euclid will accept a webpage, a slide show, an eye-catching poster, or a flyer to get his message out. The presentation is up to you; it just needs to be engaging and informative.
He also knows he needs to update his message. He wants a new motto to go over the entrance to the club.
Your team has been chosen to enter the competition. Your challenge is to design and present a presentation that tells young people why Euclid feels strongly about geometry, and to use specific terms, shapes, and transformations to show what geometry teaches us, why it’s useful, and where it applies to the world around us. You will also create a name and motto for Euclid’s new club.
3. Frame the task with the Driving Question. How can we, as a team of young geometry specialists, create a presentation aimed at teens that combines geometric information and historical facts about geometry to explain the significance of geometry to their lives?
4. Describe the concepts that students will learn as they complete the project. Include historical information and the ability to recognize and manipulate the key shapes in geometry.
5. Discuss the why behind the project. It is to gain a deeper appreciation of geometry and set the tone for the remainder of the course.
6. Distribute Selling Geometry Project Packets to students.
7. Anchor rubrics. Students should understand project grading and rubric language.
Tips and Tools
Generate interest in the project by using an Entry Event. Examples:
• Have students watch a video on Euclid. This is an overview of Euclid’s life and work. (1 minute 30 seconds)
• Have students watch the video: What’s the point of geometry? This is a clever video on the importance of geometry. (3 minutes)
• Have students individually or in teams spend 20 minutes finding online resources for geometry, then discuss and generate questions or share observations.
• Use Cloze notes (this is an explanation of cloze notes from eHow.com) to encourage retention and understanding of videos.
If your or students would like to change or refine the Driving Question, use this protocol for refining the Driving Question.
It’s critical to a good start that students understand they will be assessed on (1) geometry content; (2) mathematical practices; (3) teamwork; (4) presentations.