We had four days before Spring Break. I was looking for something different to do with my 8th graders to have them show me their understanding of percents. We had spent the previous week going over the basics: how to find discounts, how to apply sales tax, how to calculate tip, and how to use the simple interest formula. We had talked about so many real world scenarios while going through these concepts, that the last thing I wanted to do was have them complete the test from the book.
So, what to do? I quickly did a Google search to find an activity they could complete to show their understanding. I quickly found an activity on Application of Percents called Shopping Spree. In it, the students were asked to spend $2,500 to redecorate a room in their house. They were given a list of things they needed to purchase for each room. In addition, I also gave them a list of stores they could shop: Lowes, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond were a few. They were also given percents off all items purchased from each of these stores. These discounts were in addition to any they found the stores were currently giving. Here are some observations from the week:
1. I heard three kids mention they found some items at home. I never mentioned it was homework, but they chose to do some of the work at home. I was shocked because two of them do not typically do anything outside of class.
2. There was no "getting class started". I had 15 8th graders entering the room, going right to their chromebooks, and getting started on the activity.
3. Discussion between students was mostly on topic. I had only a few times over four days that a couple students needed redirection.
4. The students knew who to go to for help. I saw several of them go to a couple of kids who they knew could help them set up Blogger. Others went to different kids who they knew understood how to calculate discounts well.
5. I could meet with the students for a few minutes while the rest of the class was working.
6. The students had a reason to learn the material and that was to apply it to the project.
7. I was surprised how many of them did not know how to do some basic things in Google Drive. We were able to work through things like setting up Blogger, linking Google Sheets to a Document, and sharing a Power Point. I tried to get them away from creating these, but was not successful with all of them.
8. I will need to see how they fared once we return from break. I was able to get most of the "grading" done while informally walking around. I already know they all have their math correct, so I just need to look at their reflections.
I am happy at how the week wound down with this class. I would like to think the activity was relevant and helped keep them focus before break. I will not know if this worked until I look at the products they produced. I had 15 8th graders working past the bell the day before Spring Break started. That is a win in my book.