On Friday in my math class, we worked on creating sonobe units to create sonobe cubes that we are using to explore ratios, geometry and proportionality. Earlier in the week, we did some work around this topic with some boxes that I had already created, and, after that, some of the students expressed interest in creating their own. So, Friday found us creating origami boxes. (As a side note, as I taught my class, I simultaneously taught a colleagues class down the hall via Google Hangout which, I must confess, was pretty cool.) I have tasked my students with creating two boxes of differing sizes so that they can continue to explore the relationship between volume, surface area, similarity and congruence as well as the ever important and always present math process expectations.
Having the students make their own units and then boxes was a really valuable experience. Some students found that it came easy to them; while others found it more challenging. Watching the natural collaboration occur in my room was something that I hadn’t anticipated. Of their own accord, students who felt confident got up and moved around the room helping their peers to create their units or create their boxes. Some students who worked with me last year and who had experience with the boxes, became co-teachers with me, and then moved back and forth between classrooms, assisting in my colleagues class as I continued to teach both classes via the video link.
At one point, a student called out, “I need help! Somebody come!”. And someone DID come. And it wasn’t me. It was a peer; a friend. They automatically became teachers. THIS is my goal as an educator: that my students take ownership over their own learning, and then become part of the cycle of learning for others. It was a beauty to behold and made this math teacher proud.