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Geometry Bloject: Recycle Robot

So one of my favorite people I have met since discovering the #mtbos is Jed Butler. At Edcamp earlier this year we got to chit chat in person and in just a few minutes, I had several ideas that I wanted to implement, including doing a variation of his assignment called Recycle Robot.

Last year (see old prompt), I had my geometry students find an object at home to measure and calculate surface area and volume. Then they wrote a blog post about their item (see student sample). This year, I wanted them to create something and the Recycle Robot was a good match. I made a few slight changes, including a requirement to convert the surface area to units of post-it notes as I wanted them to connect this project with the day we spent on File Cabinet.

I reread my short reflection on how this assignment went last year and my goal for the assignment holds. Like last year students are doing more than calculating something from a textbook. They are interacting with the object in a way that gives the calculation more meaning. Also, they are still required to write and reflect about the process, thus giving their brains another chance to remember the skill as reflecting boosts retention (have I mentioned you should read this?).  What I like about this year's update is that the requirement to create and even name the object, the robot, makes the calculations even more meaningful.

Additionally, they must make a prediction (though after measuring and calculating surface area) of how many post-it notes needed to cover the object. The value of making predictions for engagement has been well established. As I'd hoped, on the day when they brought their robots to school, they dutifully attempted to cover their robot with only the number of post-its they predicted. I learned that it takes longer than 40 minutes to cover a giant box with post-its - I guess I should have asked Andrew Stadel for an estimate (heehee). Next year, I will advise my students to make small robots and perhaps try to allot more time for the activity.

See Prompt here.

See student sample here and here and here