CMS eighth graders put the ‘fun’ in function

Special to the Banner
Posted 12/26/16

Trey Stanford, eighth-grade math teacher at Cleveland Middle School, has been using some unconventional methods to pique his students’ engagement.

In late November, Stanford was tasked with …

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CMS eighth graders put the ‘fun’ in function

Posted

Trey Stanford, eighth-grade math teacher at Cleveland Middle School, has been using some unconventional methods to pique his students’ engagement.

In late November, Stanford was tasked with teaching function tables. Functions are an input-output relationship that has exactly one output for each input.

Rather than drone on about numerical relationships, Stanford instead spent the day dressed as an international spy. This immediately sparked curiosity in the hallways, and students were excited to get to math class. Upon arrival, students were given “top secret” coded information, and they had to use function tables in order to solve their coded messages. The administration team at CMS even played along by informing the class that the FBI contacted the school and had some questions on how Stanford had access to these top-secret codes.

Students spent the whole class working interactively with function tables and they had a great time learning the required information. The role play of the lesson and figuring out the codes were all a representation of how function tables work and how function tables can be used in real life situations.

But, it does not stop there.

After seeing the excitement and enthusiasm for learning that day, Stanford kept building on the classroom engagement. Just a week later, Stanford treated his class to a presentation on slope.

Stanford arrived for school that day dressed and ready to go … well, ready to go rapelling and rock climbing. When students entered the classroom, they noticed zip lines starting in the ceiling and extending across the classroom down to the floor. To begin class, a Spiderman action figure actually zipped down the track! Stanford was then able to take the energy in the classroom and direct the students to find the slope of the various zip lines that were in his classroom.

After a brief presentation of the mathematical concepts, students began finding the slope of any line he gave them. His students were able to learn the required material while having a great time.

Looking forward, Stanford plans to continue teaching this way, hoping to enhance other lessons and make them memorable for his students.

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