This lesson is a follow up to the project on long distance relationships. The lesson gives students a chance to help each other and collaborate on their work. I believe that students thrive when they get a chance to share their work and explain their ideas.
I start class by handing back their projects, project grades, and project feedback (I give detailed feedback). If they made any errors, then the comments will help them fix their mistakes. If they did really well, I give them extension questions to push their thinking.
Students use this time to review their work and help each other look back at the mathematics in this project. After about 10 minutes, I ask them to take a small index card and write out the distance of their space location (from Earth) and the speed in which they would travel to get there. I ask them to report all of their measurements in kilometers. They put the index card on the tables next to their reports.
This gallery walk has to parts. First, I let students walk around for 1 minute and look at the reports in the room. I ask them to stay with the members of their table (I have 4 to a table) and to pick another report at another table that seems interesting. They travel with their pencil, a calculator, and a piece of paper.
Once they sit down, they have two minutes to silently solve the problem on the index card. After the two minutes, they compare their answer to the work in the report. The goal here is to use the report as a teaching tool.
After students have read the reports at the table they have visited, I give them sticky notes. They write comments to the author of the report. We often discuss the types of comments that are appropriate for this exercise. It is fine if students want to compliment the author and write stuff like, "this was great!" However, they also need to make comments about the mathematics or reasoning of the author. Readers can help by offering alternate algorithms or more efficient ways to calculate with the scientific notation. Readers can also ask questions. Perhaps there is something they don't understand. I give them about 5 minutes to write their comments and then ask everyone to switch back.
In this next 5 minute chunk, students have an opportunity to respond to the questions or comments they received. If they answered a question, they give their response to me and I hand it over to the student who had the question. If they can't answer a question, we solve it as a class.
At this point we talk as a class about what students noticed in the work they read. I know that time is tight in teaching, but this type of conversation is critical. Students need a chance to reflect on the structure of the work they saw. They will notice how great some of the work is and want to model that great work on the next project. This conversation gives students ideas on how to improve their work. They see what others are doing and start thinking, "hey that is awesome, I should do that." This is what collaboration is all about: success and growth.
I finish class by sharing some of the challenging situations I encountered while grading these projects. There are always such rich misconceptions and wonderfully challenging problems in these projects. I use this time to share what I noticed. I often take photos of projects and share on the projector. It is especially valuable to pull up work and say, "what went wrong here?" These types of questions make students active members in the dialogue around mathematics. I believe that this is what the Common Core is all about.