Student Creators: Let Math be a “Movie Star”

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 8, 2014  in: authentic audience, Engagement, Math, math videos, movie-star

In the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, creating is the highest order thinking skill. It’s interesting if you think about it.  Kids love to create.  Yet often in school there are limited opportunities for kids to do any real creating.  

This year I have iPads in my classroom.  (That changes everything – and that’s a topic for another blog post…. )  With the iPads, my students have opportunities to create digital products.  They use the iPads with various programs and apps to create content and to show their understanding of math in a whole new way. This is student engagement.

Math is the “movie star” in my classroom.  Their understanding of math is the content for the movies my students are creating.  The assignment is to create a video that explains how and why you solved the problem the way you did. Think of it as a student produced “Khan Academy.”  

Students make movies where they solve and explain their thinking on an open-ended math problem.  They produce video that shows how to compare fractions. They use video to explain how to add and subtract mixed numbers, multiply mixed numbers, or divide BIG numbers.  When a student creates a video, there are so many skills involved – not just DOING math, but explaining and understanding math.

My students have used digital cameras, Smart Board recorder, iPad videos, the iPad iMovie app, and as of today, the iPad Explain Everything app.  The videos can be as simple or creative as the resources you have available.  Students learn these different devices easily and eagerly.  They will be experts quickly. 

Next, students need an audience.  My district provides a password protected Learning Management System to post and share their videos.  (Students cannot access YouTube at school.)  From this site, students can view and comment on each others’ videos.  They can also share the videos with family and friends by accessing the site from home.  Producing for a real audience heightens the students’ attention to detail and their accuracy.

Make math the movie star!  Creating videos is an engaging math activity. Give it a try!

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