Digital Images

Middle Grades Math



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Capstone Project


iMovie: Teaching Strategy Commercial, Wait Time

This iMovie is a spoof commercial that illustrates the Teaching Strategy called Wait Time.  The definition of Wait Time is that the teacher is supposed to allow time between asking the class a question and then soliciting a response.  Most students hear a question and just blurt out a quick, simple, and often one-word answer to the question.  Providing Wait Time encourages to the students "Think before they speak," and to demonstrate a more deeper knowledge of the question being asked.  This clip creates a humorous scene where one student  takes an extra long period of time in order to solicit an extremely detailed response to her teacher's question.


M3 - Math Movie Minute

This activity, Math Movie Minute, demonstrates the age old theory that students comprehend concepts better if they, themselves, teach the concept to another person.  Using iMovie allows students to integrate math knowledge with technolgy to create a video that teaches their classmates. 

The students should be divided into groups and given the task to create a 2-3 minute movie that focuses on solving and explaining a "real life" math problem.  First, the groups are to agree on a math concept and problem that could occur in everyday life.  The teacher then introduces the procedures of creating a movie, beginning with the importance of a storyboard and how to use a digital video camera with iMovie.  The students are then to research their chosen topic and complete a story board that includes scripts, shots, plots, and any other element needed in their movie.  The requirements for this project for the students include that each student should have: 

  • Introductory scenes showing the math problem occuring in the real-world.
  • Data collection scenes where the students are seen measuring or taking action to collect data.
  • Documentation scenes where students are seen working out the math problem on the screen.
  • A conclusion where credits and sources are cited.

Students are then to rehearse and film their movie.  When finished filming, they are to import their footage to iMovie and edit.  Once the movies are completely finished, the students present them to the class, and the class is to provide feedback and discuss the process. 

The Outcomes after completion of this project provides that each student will be able to:

  • Apply the concepts learned in the Math Class to "real-life" problems.
  • Use mathematical vocabulary to explain process, solution, and application.
  • Demonstrate ability to work individually and collaboratively to problem solve.
  • Provide a clear explanation of a solution to a problem and justify the processes used to get the solution.
  • Demonstrate ability to create/use a story board.
  • Write a script including explanation, supporting details, and logical flow.
  • Use presentation skills.



In this particular project, the teacher must first be familiar with the technological equipment being used by the students.  The teacher must also be able to clearly explain to the students each different aspect of the project and how it is to be completed.

One thing I have learned from this activity is that you can turn everyday concepts into entertaining, yet also educational projects for students.  I have always held a firm belief that students comprehend concepts better when they teach the concept to another person, yet this project integrates this theory with real life math problems and video footage.  The child does not simply come up to the dry erase board and explain how to solve a problem thought of by the teacher.  Rather, they are connecting real life mathematical problems that they run into everyday with the concepts that they are learning math class to create an "Attention-Keeper" movie that will teach themselves, as well as their classmates.

This activity could be used in 8th grade math easily because the students should be mature enough to handle the responsibility of working in a group with electronic equipment.  They should also be able to see abstract connections between real life problems and their in-class math knowledge and be able to solve the problem. 


Our Math Trail

This activity, Our Math Trail, helps to show students how math is all around us.  The students use iPhoto to demonstrate this concept.

This project is based on a concept presented in the National Math Trail website.  Students are given a list of grade appropriate math concepts.  Working in small groups, the students walk around the school campus and take digital photos they can use for math problems related to the concepts of the list.  They then download the photos in iPhoto and create a group iPhoto photo book.  They write the text for the problem on the page with the photo and add the solution to a page at the end of the book.  They can also use Clip Art or other images on the page that follows a problem to explain the relevant math concepts.  Each student group also adds step-by-step to each math problem site on a school map, which allows the other groups to follow that "math trail" and solve the problems.  The completed iPhoto books are printed and given to each other group.

The Outcomes after completion of this project provides that each student will be able to:

  • Work in a cooperative group to produce a book of math problems.
  • Complete a map that includes directions.
  • Show how math is relevant to real life.



One thing I have learned from this activity is how you can facilitate in making connections regarding mathematical knowledge into almost every aspect of real life.  This project gives the students a variety of different real life ideas to incorporate into their math class.  This activity also helps the students keep their interest in learning and retaining math skills.  Many students dread coming to math class because most classes are always lecture-based and can get boring to the students.  Keeping this interesting for the students not only keeps them entertained, but shows them that learning is not alway tedious and full of lectures.  Through this activity, the students are using their own knowledge to create a math trail and then solving other groups' problems through trails also.  They are learning and having a positive experience in their math class.


Measuring Speed With iMovie

This activity, Measuring Speed With iMovie, allows students to be able to make accurate measurements and record data, which relates to science skills.  Students also need to know how to use math formulas to convert different units of measurements.  This lesson provides real world examples of a variety of math and science skills.  Using a digital camera, iMovie, and a spreadsheet program, students will be able to measure the speed of various objects.

In this activity, students record each other running, walking, throwing a ball, or doing a similar activity for a set distance.  The students then import the clips to iMovie.  They use seconds and frames per second it took to complete each activity in the video to compute how long it took in miles per hour.  They record their data in AppleWorks and discuss questions that relate to their observations and measurements.

The Outcomes after completion of this project provides that each student will be able to:

  • Measure speed of an object using video.
  • Convert feet/second to miles/hour.
  • Convert seconds:frames to a decimal value.
  • Understand the importance of  consistent and accurate measurements.
  • Understand a real-world application of math and science.



One thing I learned from this activity is the variety of different ways technology can be used in the classroom and how you can relate one specific subject area to another.  This activity linked mathematics with science.  A teacher could work together by coinciding this project with similar curriculum being taught in a science class.  Therefore, the students make not only the connection from math to real-world problems, but they also connect math to science.  The students will begin to see how each subject area should "feed" into the other, and help the students get an overall idea of how everything that they're learning in school fits together.  Everything is not just random knowledge.


Symmetry in Motion

This activity, Symmetry in Motion, supports the idea that students who are actively engaged in meaningful applications of new concepts and ideas internalize, understand, and retain at a much higher level.  In this particular case, mathematical students who are learning about transformational geometry will not only look at characteristics and defining features of translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations of two-dimensional  shapes, but they will explore around them to find real life examples of each individual type. 

In this lesson, students will create an iMovie explaining each concept and provide real-world examples to clarify and develop understanding for themselves and their classmates.

The Outcomes after completion of this project provides that each student will be able to:

  • Understand the mathematical concepts that relate to transformational geometry.
  • Be able to visualize real-world examples of transformational geometry.
  • Be able to use a digital video camera and edit using iMovie.



One new thing I have learned from this activity is to create ideas/activities for students to participate in that will make newly learned concepts "concrete" in their minds.  It's one thing to tell and lecture about geometrical transformations, but that in itself is a very abstract thought.  By allowing the students to take that abstract thought and make it realistic in their minds by finding real-world examples helps clarify and cement the concept into long term memory.  The big part of this project is letting the students create the examples themselves so that they have to decide individually if their problem is consistent with the mathematical concept they just learned.  Then, the students get to create an iMovie presenting all the examples they have found, and they get to see what other student groups created also.