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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Finally Used the Cell Phones for Something



Sixty students! Two days! Two buildings! Twelve clues! One map! I went a step beyond the classroom locus treasure hunt this year and made a school-wide locus treasure hunt.

In class the students worked with large (11"x17") maps of the school, compasses, rulers, and locus-type pirate map style clues (100 feet from Miss Nowak's room, and also equidistant from the math hallway and the resource hallway) to narrow down the location of 12 stars I stuck around the school. Then they had the whole next day to look for the stars and send a picture of them standing next to it to a picasaweb drop box for a bonus point.




I'm not going to bother posting documents because obviously they would only work for my school. But, it was fun, and I was proud of myself for thinking to use the phone cameras like that.

And, it seemed much, much easier for the kids to get a hold of the locus concepts when it was tied to a concrete map of the school. For some reason saying "equidistant from room 2122 and 2126" has magical super powers that "equidistant from two points" does not. Weird.

Update: Here are the files, for whatever they are worth.

13 comments:

  1. In this competitive and advance time everyone need mobile phone it is necessary for all of us

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  2. Wow, this sounds fantastic. Please post the documents, they are at least a starting point for adapting the lesson. This reminds me a bit of the "Vector Hunt" activity I did at my old school. The documents for which I should post too. Your blog has been awesome by the way.

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  3. Using Picasa and Cell Phones like this is a GREAT idea! I wish I knew about this earlier this year!

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  4. I second roybot's plea for the documents. This sounds super cool, and I'd like to try something similar, but I will never have the time to make the initial design investments. In other words, I would love to steal this from you.

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  5. I uploaded them and added a link to the end of the post. But, I don't know, you'll still have to get a map of your school and write all your own clues. I hope it helps though.

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  6. Hey this is killer stuff. How about some data here? What was the distribution of collected stars? Did everyone get all 12? I imagine you tried to place the stars in such a way that they weren't obvious to a student passing by but also so they weren't so hard to find that students gave up even when they had the correct location. How did you pull that off?

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  7. Well as far as taking the photos - The students were working in groups of 3-4, and I had a total of 9 groups send in photos. So at a maximum, a little more than half of the students did the bonus part. The most any one group found was 5 stars.

    They seemed to be busting through the clues in class with the maps pretty well. I think next year I will plan for two days with the maps in class instead of one, so they can error-correct if they go looking and don't find them. And possibly allow class time the second day for them to go look. Lots of our kids don't have any free periods, not even a lunch, which I think is madness but that's the school culture.

    Figuring out where to put the stars was a fun little challenge. About half of them went in teacher buddies' classrooms - just inside the door, so they wouldn't be visible to passing traffic, but it wouldn't be too disruptive for someone to take a picture. The rest went in common areas - I tried to put them in places that wouldn't be seen by a casual passersby, but wouldn't be too hard to find if you were looking for it. For example, I put one on a floor-to-ceiling support post in the library, at eye level, but not facing the library entrance. I put another one on a bulletin board in the guidance office, but again not visible from the entrance that people walk by. Another one was in a display case in the art wing in an out-of-the-way alcove.

    I also had "Mobile Bonus Star #13" that was attached to a former student who felt like a celebrity all day with freshmen flinging themselves at him to get a picture. Because it was funny.

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  8. Thanks to a post at dy/dan I got to this post. I love it! Since your clues won't work for my school, I started to think that I am going to have 1 class (my "Honors Geometry" bunch) create the clues for the other two ("regular") classes. Depending how it goes, I will let the other classes try it too.

    Thanks! Richard

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  9. Sounds like a great idea, Richard. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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  10. this is so cute! I'm going to remember this one to see what I can do with my own classes. Thanks!

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  11. Made two treasure hunts of this kind for today's school wide Math Day. The details from your posted treasure hunt were very helpful even though they were particular to your school. The activity worked beautifully, and a colleague suggested she and I write one for the staff end-of-year party in June, since this was so much fun :)

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  12. This looks like so much fun! I am going to try to brainstorm over the weekend and see if I can modify for my distance and midpoint lesson...which is MONDAY! Yikes!!! :)

    I also used cell phones in class today after reading this post several months ago. I sent the kids in groups of 4 around the school to find conic shapes (as an intro to the unit) and they took pics and showed me what they found after about 15 minutes. They loved it!

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  13. As usual, I am totally late to the party, but I feel obligated to emphasize the sheer friggin' genius of this idea.

    That way, when you get that early-morning phone call from the MacArthur 'genius grant' people, you will know at least one of the criminal masterminds behind it.

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