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Why Math Project Work is a MUST for Your Upper Grade Students

August 22, 2022 No Comments

If you’re a teacher of upper elementary math students, then you know that it’s important for them to get experience with real-world math problems. One great way to do this is through math project work. Projects allow students to apply the skills they’ve learned in a fun and creative way. They also help students develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of using math projects in your classroom, and we will provide some ideas for projects that your students will love!

Why math project work is a must for your upper grade students.

What is a math project?

A math project is a task or activity that requires students to use math skills to solve a real-world problem. Math projects can be used in any grade level, but they are particularly beneficial for upper elementary students. This is because upper elementary students are often working on more abstract math concepts, and projects can help them make connections between the theory and the real world.

Student working independently on multiplication problems.

Why use math projects?

There are many reasons to use math projects in your classroom. Math projects:

– Encourage students to think critically and solve problems independently.

– Help students make connections between math concepts and the real world.

– Allow students to work at their own pace and level of understanding.

-They can be easy for you to differentiate to better meet the needs of your unique learners.

What are some ideas for math project work?

There are two different types of math projects you could use. One type of math project work you could use would be more student-directed. The basic idea would be that students would need to apply the concepts they’ve learned to a project they design or create. This type of math project work is great if you have more time and are wanting students to show their learning in a more abstract and independent way. Some examples of this type of math project could include…

– Students design their own board game that uses math concepts.

– Students create a scale model of the solar system.

Another type of math project work you could use in your upper grade classroom is more structured. These projects already have plugged the math concepts into problems for your students to solve and they frequently have answer keys (at least for part of the project). These are good to use if you are looking to have students working on the same activity and want a little more structure to the learning process. Check out this example of a more structured math project.

Thanksgiving Dinner Math Project: In this interactive math project students work to calculate how much food they need to prepare, create a grocery list, compare store prices, and calculate calorie totals for a Thanksgiving meal. Students will apply math concepts to real-life situations to complete this math project work. Check out this math project with decimal numbers or with whole numbers.

Thanksgiving dinner math project provides real world place value math project work.

Both types of projects allow students to see how the math concepts they are learning can be applied to the real world and allow for critical thinking. Certain concepts lend themselves better to certain types of math projects. So don’t be afraid to use different types of math project work throughout the year!

Why do math projects work well for differentiating?

Math projects are a great way to differentiate because they offer students the opportunity to work at their level. Students can be given different project options based on their interests and abilities. Here are some ways to differentiate math project work…

-Delete pages that don’t fit well with what you have taught or wait to give certain pages when you feel your students are ready.

-Allow students to work with a partner or in a group.

-Use math projects that have tiered activity pages so you can better target where your students are at.

-Set aside a couple of days to complete a math project. Allow students to move at their own pace.

-Use differentiation tools.

Differentiation tools are my favorite way to differentiate a math project. Tools allow students to access the same math project as the rest of their peers but provide added support for their thinking process. I’ve created a FREE place value and algebraic thinking differentiation toolkit for math projects that you can use with your students.

Math project work is a great way to engage your students in upper elementary math.  They allow students to build critical thinking skills while practicing math concepts in real-world settings.

Do you use math projects in your upper elementary math class? Leave a comment below and let me know! If not, let’s get started!

And don’t forget to grab your FREE differentiation toolkit before you go. 🙂

Looking for more ideas for math projects? Check out these projects:

Winter Holidays Around the World Math Project 5th Grade

Winter Holidays Around the World Math Project 4th Grade

Winter Holidays Around the World Math Project 3rd Grade

P.S. Interested in more ideas on engaging students in your upper grade classroom? Check out this page filled with posts and resources all about engaging your students.

Amanda Stitt

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I’m a mom, military spouse, and teacher trying to find the elusive balance of everything going on in life. I am passionate about helping teachers feel supported and equipped to meet the needs of their unique learners. Thanks for stopping by and let’s start teaching together! Read More

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