I taught ratios and proportions to my Algebra 1 students very early in the year. Looking back, I think I rushed through this topic too fast. Next year, I will probably double the time I spend on this topic!

During my student teaching in 8th grade, I wrote a Road Trip project for my students to complete. The original project was 3 days long. For my Algebra 1 students, I chose to only do Day 1 of this project.

The task is simple. Given a map of the United States, plan a road trip to visit 5 cities. Using ratios and proportions, calculate the total distance traveled. Students need a copy of the map, worksheet, and a ruler. I wrote more about this project here.

Road Trip Project |

Since I had already done this project with 8th graders, I thought my Algebra 1 students would be able to whiz right through it. I was wrong. I had to teach many of my students how to read a ruler. Rounding to the nearest quarter inch was a disaster. And, the questions students asked me made me feel more like a geography teacher than a math teacher.

These are

__actual__conversations I had with my Algebra 1 students during this activity.

Me: Class, today we are going on a

*road*trip. If we're going on a

*road*trip, that means we will be traveling on...

Class: Roads!

Me: Yes, so that means we can't travel to...

Class: Hawaii

Student 1: Why can't you drive to Hawaii?

Me: Hawaii is an island. That means it is surrounded by water.

Student 2: Why does Hawaii look so weird?

Custodian who just happens to be emptying the trash at this point: Hawaii is a series of small islands.

Student 3: Do you mean you can't drive between the little islands?

Custodian: No. When I was in Hawaii, we traveled between the islands by taking ferries.

Student 1: Is Washington, D.C. here? [The student is pointing at Washington state.]

Me: No.

Student 2: No, Washington, D.C. is in Virginia.

Student 1: I think this map is wrong.

Me: Why?

Student 1: Oklahoma City should be above Tulsa.

Student 1: Do you mean Nashville, Tennessee is in the United States?

Me: Yes. Nashville is in the U.S.

Student 1: I've heard of it before, but I didn't realize it was in the U.S.

I required my students to write both the city and the state they were visiting on their assignment. One student wrote that she was traveling to New Jersey, PA.

I love explaining to my 6th graders that Arizona, Texas, Florida... are not a countries. Every year:)

ReplyDeleteFun! I'm always surprised how long road trips can take because not all roads are the same (since the speed limits are different and there may be traffic).

ReplyDeleteKids Math Teacher

I used your road trip project this year with my pre-algebra students. Thank you for sharing this. I too was surprised at how many students had difficulty using a ruler to measure to the nearest quarter inch. :)

ReplyDeleteI created a similar road trip project for my 7th pre-algebra class This year. Wrote a quick blog post and linked up my version of the project on my blog.

ReplyDeletehttp://mrsaitoromath.blogspot.com/2013/07/on-road-project.html?token=8C9Cnj8BAAA.qhlj3hK5E_6AgxXjFGoixA.AJ33TyHfSNDfTEYXZX_79Q&postId=8602749148747721193&type=POST

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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