As part of my current unit in Geometry, I invited students to select one of three learning activities they had been working on, and submit a write-up on that activity. Specifically, they could choose from a solution to a problem they had been working on, a math journal entry, or a written description of some of the thinking that evolved as they were playing Blokus, a strategy game involving various square-based polygons which I had featured at one of the centers for the past several weeks. All three of these activities had enabled students to practice both their oral and written communication skills in math, and now it was time to show what they had learned.
Based on the math journal criteria we had co-constructed earlier in the year, I developed an assessment and descriptive feedback sheet. I was looking largely for appropriate application of relevant math vocabulary, and use of diagrams to illustrate thinking.
To be honest, I was a little bit nervous to see the results... although I knew the tasks were curriculum-linked, rich and engaging, I also knew that some of the students had engaged only superficially with the food I had prepared for them in our math buffet, and so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, especially when it came to the Blokus write-ups, since that was a somewhat more open-ended task.
But wow, were some of them ever good!
Below are two (the second is two pages long) that I found particularly rich.... (click to enlarge and see full dimensions)
Although not all the explanations were as robust as the examples above, these nevertheless serve to set the bar high for other students, and I am pleased to have collected these as exemplars of what an intermediate student response might look like!