Rates and Ratios
New Project Stems from Learning Technology Grant
“Should we ask how many pounds a day they eat?” asked one sixth grader. “Who knows the answer to that?” responded her team members. "Keep it simple,” said math teacher Jesse Weiss. "If people have to think too much, they will skip the question."
The sixth graders were creating a survey to determine how much food students in their grade consumed. Other groups scattered around John Jay Middle School’s Library were collaborating on questions about their classmates’ use of resources including energy and water, using Microsoft Forms.
This was the inaugural run of cross-curricular project that Weiss designed through New York State’s Learning Technology Grant. It was already an engaging opportunity for students to be problem solvers and use technology in ways that makes sense.
Students Are Problem Solvers
Learning Driven by Ways to Share Findings with Others
“The students’ surveys will generate real data about their peers’ use of resources,” said Weiss. He explained that the students would compare John Jay sixth graders’ use of food, water, energy and land to other communities’ consumption. They’d learn how to use rates and ratios to share their information with others, as well as gain insights into behavior and resource use that could help schools and students act more sustainably.
“In other years, I taught the rates and ratios math unit through word problems,” said Weiss. “This is much more relevant.”
Each Step Requires Engagement
Generating Data that Matters
Weiss was one of four John Jay Middle School teachers who participated in the New York State Learning Technology Grant. He and colleagues Melissa Brady, Marcia Daley-Savo and Suzanne Guziec attended a series of workshops at PNW BOCES focused on designing authentic learning opportunities. The new projects are all being implemented in John Jay classrooms this year.
The Food Survey team ended up with six tight questions including students’ sources for food and how often families cook at home per week. Before the period ended, each student took the four surveys generated by the class. They left with a QR code for their survey to share across the grade. The data generation had begun!