## Tuesday, March 10, 2009

### Project Idea: Straightforward Example Posters

This past week in Algebra II, we studied the Law of Sines. It took longer than I anticipated for students to really start to "get it". Nevertheless, due to sporadic attendance and what I saw as varying levels of mastery by Thursday, I decided students weren't ready for a quiz quite yet.

I instead gave students a project that would give some a chance to demonstrate their mastery of the material and allow students who were still struggling a chance to finally figure everything out. Thus it is both a teaching tool and an alternative assessment.

I found a set of 15-20 problems that I would have included on a quiz and put them onto a handout with dead simple directions:
Directions: Pick two of the problems below. You will complete two posters.
1. Solving a triangle. Find the missing angles and side lengths. Show the Law of Sines, all of your work, and the correct answer (of course)!
2. Area of any triangle. Show the area formula and explain how to know which sides and angle you have to use. Show your work and the correct answer.
EXTRA CREDIT: Complete the remaining problems on a separate paper.
This project can be adapted to just about any topic, especially ones where completing any single problem requires a lot of time and effort to complete. Students complete just one or two examples of problems you've been studying, showing all of the work and any formulas, rules or procedures you've taught them.

When you hang these posters around the room and school, you and your students can refer to them for help whenever necessary. Their presence also serves to build your classroom culture by both making your room more warm and inviting and giving your students a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This kind of straightforward example poster is also one of the ideas for using the word wall in the secondary classroom from my book Ten Cheap Lessons.