Have you ever wanted to be “that teacher” who had their students’ work plastered all over the school? Yeah, that was me, too. I wanted my students’ work to be seen by everyone, but it seemed a little odd to post random 7th grade math assignments down in the 6th grade hallway. So I thought about it and came up with something that no one would have a problem with if it encroached on their wall space: a project!
I waited until we came to the scientific notation unit and then I assigned my “scale model” project. I overlapped this with the science class’s unit on the solar system and came up with the “Scale Model of the Solar System” project. The kids had to do all the research on the planets and then build a scale model of the solar system. They did it in pairs, because it was a lot of work.
The results were amazing! I was lucky enough to teach at a K-8 school, so by the end of the project, we had Pluto (this was before Pluto was demoted to non-planet status) down near the Kindergarten rooms with the suns all in the media center. The kids loved measuring the distances from the sun and displaying their work all over the school. The project took about 2 weeks and the kids really understood scientific notation because they had to do so many conversions for all the data. They also knew their solar system inside and out.
It turned out to be a great way for them to learn and be excited about it.