Reading in the Content Area: Mathematics
Although Math by Design focuses on specific geometry and measurement objectives, there are ways to support students' literacy skills.
You may want to begin by visiting the Educators Resources section to see the wealth of resources and suggestions for using Math by Design with your students. As with any new content experience, students will be most successful when they have the level of support they need to in order to comprehend unfamiliar concepts. Less skilled readers may require even greater assistance to help them be successful in accomplishing the tasks and subtasks.
Since Math by Design focuses on math concepts, middle school students will not encounter large sections of text that could pose problems for either less skilled or reluctant readers. When text does appear, there are a number of unique design features to help support readers.
- Each task is presented in its entirety first and then chunked into subtasks to help students work through the task.
- Details are embedded in each task to give students reminders about the important information.
- Examples are embedded in each hint to help students "see" the math application that is described.
- Each hint page uses color to break the text into manageable sections.
You can probably think of many ways to use Math by Design to advance your students' literacy skills, but here are a few strategies that we have compiled.
Tap students' prior knowledge and help them make connections between what they already know about geometry, measurement, and architecture and what they will encounter in Math by Design. Consider asking students to complete sketches or blueprints of their "dream room" to introduce them to the type of activities they will encounter in creating their online environments.
To help students work in the online 2D environment, give students opportunities to draw and/or revise blueprints, using different scale measurements. Consider pairing students and have them build models of one another's environment.
Some students will benefit from either working with manipulatives on a blank grid or completing a rough sketch of an environment first before working online.
Utilize the Guiding Questions to help you scaffold your instruction to aid students in understanding new information presented in the tasks and hints. Having students write questions will also help them to clarify the content.
Having students work with a partner or in a team will help them process the information in a number of ways. Consider pairing stronger math students with those who need support and have them create the environments as a junior architectural team!