As we move toward the end of the school year, sometimes it’s hard to keep focused on the important work we do! I know lots of teachers do end-of-year countdowns and so on…but to be honest, I am a pretty big fan of teaching to the end–but I’m not a fool! I like to incorporate engaging activities where students might not even realize they are working hard and applying everything they learned through the rest of the year!
Open-Ended Math Tasks and Project Based Learning
After a full year of math, I love to challenge my students with open-ended math tasks that require them to APPLY their knowledge in unique ways. When students can collaborate and cooperate–the learning becomes even more rich with math talk, problem-solving, and complexity. This Amusement Park Challenge is GREAT for this time of year…but I have used a number of different tasks in the past. Check out the bundle of all seven of these challenges here! They are differentiated challenges, easy to print–and students love the real world challenges!
I also like to use some of these smaller open-ended challenges–perfect to fill in between units or to ask students to apply skills in different ways. Here is the most recent set…if you click it, you can see the description of it and the others in the series.
Mind Bogging Math Challenges
I usually use my Mind Boggling Math Challenge at the beginning of the year to work on perseverance, precision, and cooperation. At THIS time of the year, I kick it up a notch by using my decimals/money edition! I love that students can be completely independent, that they are working on adding and subtracting decimals BUT they are doing it in a rigorous way that is steeped in number sense and problem solving! They can work on it in pairs…independently…as a part of a math center…you choose. I love that while students are working, I can pull small groups for reteaching or interventions.
Let’s face it…sometimes we work SO hard at covering our content that we forget that there are other components to student learning. I am a HUGE believer in nurturing creativity–and helping students understand the importance of it. Although I work in some of these activities all year, the end of the school year is a great time to remind students about how important creativity is–and to give them these different explorations to try. From math to art to writing to playing with words…I love that this creativity bundle makes sure that ALL students have a way to shine!
Cooperative Learning, STEM Challenges, and Teamwork
Getting students ACTIVE in the last weeks of school is so important. Finding easy to prep and set up STEM challenges and other cooperative activities keep students moving and excited about learning! These are perfect–and what I love is that you can do them once and stress the teamwork–or truly work like engineers and try them, make observations, make improvements, retest, and so on. I love just hanging back and watching my students now that they really “get” how to work together! Just click the images below to learn more.