Start a Math Fair Club
Tracy Poulin and Suzanne Prefontaine, teachers in different schools, had an interesting solution to an unusual problem. Both are excellent teachers whose duties had them doing specialist tasks in the school which kept them outside the classroom. They both wished to organize a math fair, and here is Tracy's account of how they overcame the obvious problem of not having a class to work with. The idea is so good that teachers have adapted to other situations.
"My assignment was that of an "In School Specialist" designated to assist classroom teachers in any work concerning our Instructional Focus, Language Arts and Mathematics. Therefore I had to think of a way that I could make a math fair work, knowing that I would be doing this independent of the classroom teachers due to the lack of time left in the school year. After some thought and brainstorming with Suzanne, we decided a "Math Fair Club" might be the answer. I asked the Grade 4,5,6, and the Senior Adaptation classes if I could spend a few moments explaining to the students what a Math Fair was and to see if anyone was interested in joining my club. Much to my delight over 80 children signed up before I even got into the Grade 6 classes! Since this was such a high number I decided not to invite the Grade 6's to join. As it turns out, 65 children consistently came to the meetings which were held during the lunch hour. At first I divided the students into 3 groups that met on different days in the gymnasium every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As the students became more independent on their projects, I allowed them to join us on any of those three days. It was a crazy time but the kids loved it and so did I.
The Math Fair was a great success considering the amount of time we had to organize it and the fact that I had very little adult help. The next year, the children were stopping me in the hall to ask when the Math Fair Club was starting. We began the club in November, which gave us plenty of time to prepare for the event without rushing things.