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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Outdoor Math Project Based Learning

Do your students like to be outside?

Have you done a math project in nature?

Any time of year is a great time to get outside for a math project. Project based learning engages the learner in the process. It's a great teaching method for students to gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time. This allows students to investigate and respond authentically.

Math Projects also allow students to be actively engaged in problem solving. Students think critically about math content and use their skills to solve the problem. Let your students try an outdoor math project and apply their math skills to nature.

Outdoor Math Project Based Learning 

Nature is a great place to find Geometry. There are lots of 2-d and 3-d shapes to be found. Students can look all around their neighborhoods for shapes.

We took a walk in our neighborhood and found quadrilaterals, triangles, and circles.

Recording a flower on the Math Walk printable.

Allowing students to have creativity and independence is important. He wanted to find something in the shape of square. There were plenty of plants on our street that he found.

Finished recording on the Math Walk printable. 

Giving students time to finish their work and process information is key. Projects allow students to work independently on their own time. This project was easy to differentiate. Assigning only the pages for shapes on his grade level (Kindergarten) aligned to the Geometry standards for math. 

Students in grades K, 1, 2 can work on finding quadrilaterals, non-quadrilaterals, triangles, 3-d shapes, and fractions in nature. These are all math skills that primary students can do and are aligned to their Geometry standards. 

Students in grades 3, 4, 5 can work on finding quadrilaterals, non-quadrilaterals, triangles, fractions, and symmetry in nature. These are all math skills that upper elementary students can do and are aligned to their Geometry standards. 

Students in middle school like to get outside just as much as elementary students. Fresh air is good for everyone. At my middle school we take a class break in the courtyard as a reward for good behavior. Students can easily use a clipboard or textbook to press on and complete work they would've done in your classroom. 

The Middle School Math Walk project is similar to the elementary except students are asked to go a step further. They find the shapes, attributes, and then measure to find the area, surface area, or volume of the 2-d or 3-d shape. 

This picture above is of a daisy. The daisy has a circle that can be measured electronically with your phone or with a ruler. Using those calculations the area of the flower's circle was found. This math skill can be differentiated for 6, 7, or 8 grade. Students in sixth grade may only be finding the area, whereas 7th and 8th graders would be looking for surface area or volume.

Included in the Math Walk project are all the differentiated pages to help students complete their neighborhood nature project. This can be done at home or at school depending on your time limits. Students will learn to apply geometry to their own world and learn new math skills also.

Your students will enjoy doing a project that is creative, different, and even mathematical. Click here to download the project for your students.

Happy Teaching!