Middle School Alternate Math Assessment
I am a math teacher for seventh and eighth graders. I
need one more major math assessment for both grades other than a test or
quiz. Do you have any suggestions for projects or writing assignments
for the students to complete at home or in the computer lab?
1. A biography of a "famous" mathematician. It need
not focus on the mathematics, which may be beyond students at this level;
however, it could serve the purpose of "humanizing" mathematicians. The
recent biography and movie "A Beautiful Mind" of John Nash could show that
mathematicians are human beings like the rest of us, even though they have
special talents. There is a much information in books and on the Web.
2. A mathematical "time line". Just what "events" would be included could be
guided by the students' grasp of concepts.
3. Famous unsolved math problems. Here, it would not be the mathematics that
would be emphasized but rather the story of the attempts.
4. The history / story of famous numbers: the numbers "pi", "e",
"phi"(Golden ratio), "i",
"0", are examples. For each of these, and others, there are numerous
"popular" books and articles.
5. The relation of mathematical concepts and "the arts". I'm thinking here
of painting and music. This is a bit more
advanced maybe, but there are resources available that would be
6. The history of counting -- from fingers, the abacus, to
supercomputers and other "counting machines". This is a huge topic so you
would have to help the students focus on an appropriate sub-topic.
7. Mathematics and society: Here too the subject is vast, but examples of
I am thinking of are the books "How to Lie With Statistics" by Darrel Huff
or "On Growth and
Form" by d'Arcy Thompson.
You could try getting the students to think about what they want to do for
a career. Make them research their career and learn how that career uses
math and what types of equations are commonly used. Make them write a short
paper on this information. This helps them learn how math can help them
achieve their dreams.
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Update: June 2012