Wonder Wall

How do we ensure that students are going beyond the “I need to learn this because my teacher told me to learn it,” and into the, “I want to learn how to do this because I can see how I will use this in everyday life,” mentality? One way to ensure that students are moving into the “I want to learn this stage,” or the “I need to learn this so that I can accomplish this specific task,” is to expose our students to as many authentic and real-world connections and experiences that relate to the objectives at hand, as possible. With that said, what does that look like in an elementary math class?
My teammate and I were brainstorming ideas on how we could truly get our 4th graders to see that percents, decimals, and fractions are around them constantly. We use the knowledge taught in our percents, decimals, and fractions units more often than they know, but they still seem to struggle with the concepts. We wanted a way to connect the real-world and everyday life to our classroom. We have had a wall up in our classroom titled “Wonder Wall” with each students’ picture and a speech bubble for some time now. But, as school began and lessons started pouring out, we struggled with how we wanted to utilize this wall. Finally, after digging around in our Everyday Math curriculum, we discovered the idea of creating a Living Museum in your classroom. Essentially the idea is that with each unit you ask your students to bring in examples of math around them that relates to the current unit of study. We decided to combine the Living Museum with our Wonder Wall. So far, it has not only been a hit, but a great way to connect our world with what is being taught within our classroom.

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