This Spring, I participated in EdTechTeam’s #GrowWithGoogle Challenges with the hopes of getting the final push I needed to try Google’s Applied Digital Skills curriculum in my classroom. As a member of our school’s Tech Team, I recognize the importance of digital skills. As a middle school math teacher, I am not always sure how to best fit these digital skills into the curriculum.
During the challenges, I discovered the Plan and Budget Unit and Activity 2: Choose Where to Live. This activity uses Google Sheets and a script to find the distance between two points using Google Maps. My students had just learned how to find the distance between two points using the coordinate grid and the distance formula. I thought it would be interesting to use the same concept from a different perspective.
I adapted the lesson to make it work for my 7th-grade math classroom. Instead of choosing where to live, the students researched things to do during the summer in our small town and determined what options were within walking distance.
The activity took four 45-minute class periods to complete. This was their first experience with coding and they had limited experience with Google Sheets. It was fun to watch their skills develop over the week and see some student experts emerge.
As a teacher, I enjoyed watching the students struggle productively with the activity. Instead of giving up, the students kept trying and asked each other for help. We did run into some known errors with the activity, these were noted clearly on the lesson plan. The students were still able to complete the activity and enjoy the learning process.
The students enjoyed this activity and I plan on using it again next year. This summer I am going to dig through the Applied Digital Skills curriculum and find other ways to use digital skills within the math classroom.
Amanda Thompson is a middle school math teacher at a small rural school in Minnesota. She enjoys sharing her love for math and technology with her students. She is passionate about being a lifelong learner and loves Twitter (@MrsThompson2580), conferences, and reading books on teaching.
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