Steph Conklin: Project-Based Learning in a 10th Grade Special Education Mathematics Classroom


Project-Based Learning in a 10th Grade Special Education Mathematics Classroom

Intent of Project

The goal of this project is to create a case study of a project-based learning in a 10th grade special education mathematics classroom. Students will utilize technology to find measures of central tendencies, scatter plots and lines of best-fit while studying the nutritional information about fast food restaurants. We will also work towards a greater goal of nutrition and health. By watching "Super Size Me," students will learn that nutrition is an important part of health, and hopefully by studying nutritional information they will be able to make healthy food choices at any restaurant.

Needs Assessment

There is a strong need in the Boston Public Schools for students who are designated as Special Education students to pass the 10th grade Mathematics MCAS with high scores. One of the most frequently tested topics on this exam are Data, Analysis and Statistics. This mini-lesson will review these topics while utilizing technology, interactive learning and peer instruction.

Lesson Plan

Math boy.jpg

1. The Learner

This mini-course is designed for 9th or 10th grade mathematics students in Massachusetts public schools who have a specific learning disability in mathematics or who have ADD, ADHD or dyslexia. This topic could be amended to allow for the use in preparing 8th grade students for the Math MCAS as well. The end project will be a power point or poster where students review keys terms from this mini-lesson and show that they understand how to use measures of central tendencies to describe fast-food. Students will be asked to explain nutritional food choices, and create meals that have less than 700 calories.

2. Educational Outcome and Performance Objectives

Objectives for Statistics Rocks Project

3. Design Ideas and Assessments

Students will be evaluated on project using the "Nutrition Project Rubric". Students will also achieve content objectives listed above.

This lesson has been specifically designed to motivate students who may have had a negative experience with mathematics and specifically preparing for the MCAS math exam. The lesson has been designed to both review measures of central tendency and engage students in technology and a high interest topic, fast-food. This lesson can be completed without the use of technology if students are limited in their motor skills or if access to technology is lacking at one's school.

4. Lesson units

Please find the unit lesson below for this project. The lessons have been designated by Day 1, Day 2, etc. These lessons are planned for a block schedule (80 - 90 minutes) which can be converted into shorter lessons, if needed.

Purplearrowbullet.gif Statistics Rocks Day 1

Bluearrowbullet.gif Statistics Rocks Day 2

Purplearrowbullet.gif Statistics Rocks Day 3-5

Bluearrowbullet.gif Statistics Day 6 to Presentation

Purplearrowbullet.gif Follow-up, Assessments and Extensions

Use of Learning Tools

The goals of this project are to teach students how to use measures of central tendencies to answer MCAS questions on the 10th grade Math MCAS exam. Teachers are greatly encouraged to use a host of technological resources to engage and motivate students to learn about statistics. Teachers would be best prepared to implement this mini-lesson if they had access to the following technology:

Bluearrowbullet.gif Lap top with Microsoft package

Bluearrowbullet.gif LCD

Bluearrowbullet.gif Computer lab or mobile lap top cart

Bluearrowbullet.gif Speakers

Bluearrowbullet.gif Internet connection

This project further utilizes learning tools like a rubric to help inform and include students into the evaluation of the project.



Teachers should use the Lesson Units section of this wikipage as a suggestion for how to create a project based on this topic. There are certainly time commitments and resource limitations that may not allow for teachers to implement this project as designed. One easy modification that teachers can make to just teach mean, median, mode and range is to have students just do this and eliminate the scatter plot.

For Massachusetts educators who are focusing on preparing students for the 8th or 10th grade math MCAS exam, this lesson will allow students to learn and apply statistical content in learning community. Please see specific notes for student roles and for alignment to MCAS standards.