To help students understand that math can be fun and educational, fifth-grade teacher Robin Trusty decided to create a break-out session for her students that involved finding the solutions to different problems.
"So many people have negative thoughts when it comes to math," Fifth-grade teacher Robin Trusty said. "They believe they are either good or horrible. My philosophy of mathematics is that everyone can problem solve, predict patterns and make connections while having fun."
Students participated in a breakout room called Animal Shelter. Their goal was to break out of the locked boxes to find the adoption papers for the animals to find their forever home.
The math skills included division with base ten, remainders, using context clues, problem-solving and being able to communicate with others to open the five locks. The locks were not only numeric but also directional. It took many skills to crack the codes.
"Students learn best when their learning experiences are active, have context, and are connected to their lives." Dr. Trust said. "The MYP students in my fifth-grade classroom were able to develop an understanding of their shared knowledge by appropriately expressing identities and relationships through this activity. While the math skills are key, they must also have strong approaches to learning to solve concepts outside of their wheelhouse."
Students used these ATL’s in the breakout: thinking skills, social skills, communication skills and self-management skills.
"An important part of the middle school culture is to develop the whole student through academics and to grow in their social and emotional well being," Dr. Trusty said. "The students not only bonded together as a team but also with me. The best environment for true growth is when the teacher/student relationship is strong. Without a connection, the learning is not authentic and is then lost."