Making Curriculum Pop

Hey Everyone,
My name is Cory Heyob and I am a junior math secondary education major at Aurora University. Currently I am in the process of gathering materials to create a rockin’ math unit! The unit I want to do is aimed towards middle school students (I am not yet sure the exact grade level). I am planning on teaching word problems and how to translate them from English sentences to equations and vice versa.
I currently have a few ideas to not only make this concept easier to comprehend, but also fun. These ideas include having the students create their own problems and doing some form of partner sharing. Also, working in small groups and taking pictures to form a comic and write a problem about that. Any other ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,

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My only concern here is to avoid approaching this task in a way that gives the idea that one can create some word to symbol dictionary that eliminates the need for actual mathematical thinking. So many teachers (and help guides) approach this topic that way, and I think it is really a limited and somewhat crippling approach. It's not hard to construct examples in which following the "guidebook" approach leads to errors in constructing symbolic solutions. And that notwithstanding, this approach trivializes mathematical thinking.
Thank you for your reply! Although, I am slightly confused on what exactly you are meaning. Could you possibly clarify it for me and do you have any suggestions on how to avoid such a problem?
Cory - did some more hunting. The one article is loaded with PDFs!!

See this video:

And these articles:
How to Teach Math as a Social Activity
A master teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, establishes a cooperative-learning environment in an upper-elementary classroom.

Struggling Helps Students Master Math
This was such a great example of why helping children learn social skills is so important. I can't help but think if some of the adults who were clearly out of control during the health care debates had learned some of the 'lessons" these children had gained in this video our country would be in much better place.

I also was so impressed with this teacher's calm, respectful approach. I'm certain each child within his classroom would be able to achieve success. He clearly is a Master Teacher.

Congrat's to all.

Thanks so much those are some great resources in that one article!! Also, that video is really interesting! I agree, when kids are younger that is when they need to learn how to get along with others. When they do not at that age, most of the time they end up becoming extremely rude and inconsiderate adults! Plus allows students to work in groups to discover and learn concepts is sometimes better than direct instruction, especially at the middle school age. Making learning interactive seems to help students actually learn the information and remember them for a longer period of time!
Also see this forum post on Math and Literacy



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