Spending about 30 hours marking assignments to learn not very much at all was a Spring break holiday activity that I did not enjoy. Working with the kids during classes meant there weren’t too many surprises for me in the reports.
Something wasn’t right and I tried to think how to make the marking process just as valuable for the kids without the bonus hours and hours for me after the task is done. I like to return work quickly to students, so 30 hours (outside of teaching,planning and meetings × 100) makes that a terribly difficult goal, unless you do have holidays to complete it all. Before you begin to think, or maybe it’s too late, that I am a very slow marker, I have over 60 students, in Grade 8, and they produce large reports, not just problems that are right or wrong. No tick, cross, tick, tick, cross… My kids are mathematicians, exploring, investigating and applying.
Another issue is electronic marking. It takes longer than old fashioned paper copies. I’ve been thinking about that too, but that’s another blog post.
For the final task of the year, for Grade 8, the final large task, I had to do a rethink or seriously consider running away. It’s the Casino Task and if Casino Night doesn’t happen, lots of people are disappointed. It’s a big school event and kids ask about it when they commence Grade 8.
A lot of time goes into Casino Night. Kids design their games before they build them, using the MYP Design Cycle. The idea in my head was if I know the work so well before I sit down to assess it, then I should be able to assess as they progress. Another challenge is to assess students individually even though it’s a group task. Individual reports only do so much for this.
Instead of taking you through all the ups, downs and swirls of my thoughts I will take you to the solution. If you want to see how students chose their groups, you can check out this Google Doc*.
*NBF = new best friend
THE SOLUTION: GAMIFICATION and INTERVIEWS
Students will work through levels earning badges (the images at the top of this post) as they proceed (gamification) with extra points available.
Each level has a minimum number of points required.
When students accumulate enough points, they can then, and only then, begin to create their game.
When creation begins, they will have:
- design of the equipment: the parts of the games (spinners, dice, lucky dip…), betting board, sign and rules
- plan of who needs to do what in the groups with expected times
- the Mathematics behind the probabilities and the house odds
It is expected that they work as a group ensuring that everyone is comfortable with the Mathematics.
While they are being busy like the elves in Santa’s workshop, I will call them over one by one to interview them about their game.
The Task Question: HOW CAN WE MAKE OUR CASINO GAME SUCCESSFUL?
Each student will describe their game and why they believe it will be successful on Casino Night. I will assess them there and then applying two MYP criteria: Knowledge and Understanding and Communication. The Reflection criterion must wait until after the big night.
- The Mathematics behind the events of their game will need to be explained.
- How they made their games attractive to customers to keep them at their table – Mathematics and Design.
Students, as always, have the assessment criteria at the beginning of the project.
I decided it would be easier to show you, so I took what I made as a Onenote Notebook for the kids and put it into wikispaces, so I could share it with other Mathematics and MYP teachers.
Here is the G08WikiSpaces
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Clint Hamada, @chamada, (our school tech faciliTATOR and all round great guy for bouncing ideas off) and EARCOS. I did not go to EARCOS, but Clint went and saw John Rinker‘s, @johnrinker, presentation on Gamification. Very timely!
Thanks to @zomoco for the ideas of internet memes for award badges – the kids LOVE them