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More than a Worksheet: The Spanglish Project


Looking for another way to make math More Than A Worksheet? Wondering how to make “interdisciplinary learning” more than a buzzword? With this project, you can do both! The Math Spanglish Fiction Book integrates a full quarter of Spanish and math concepts into one concrete and creative demonstration of real-life application!

Each student creates a tangible children’s book which is bound, illustrated, and indexed with Spanish vocabulary and math explanations. The student chooses the setting, plot, and characters that match their interest. What could be more engaging than finally casting your little hermano as the villain in print for all to read? Te gusta shopping? Be the Super-Senorita who solves the mystery of the actual sale price after discounts, coupons, and tax! Whatever their interests, this project offers students a rare, student-directed opportunity to impart real-life significance to the seemingly unlikely amigos- math and Spanish.

Check out this sample project and consider how much critical thinking, active investigation, and ownership went into fully understanding, and then teaching, the mathematical concepts integrated into the plot! (Keep in mind this is not a perfect example- this student work was graded using the rubric).

Some of the requirements for this interdisciplinary project include:

  • 10 pages minimum

  • Color and Illustrations

  • An explanation of mathematical technique, concept, or rule embedded into the story

  • Five math problems incorporated into the story with solutions

  • Spanish words embedded into the story

  • Vocabulary word index (or both Spanish and Math)

Aside from being FUN and practical, interdisciplinary projects such as this have been associated with MASSIVE effects on student outcomes including:

  • Better school attendance

  • More positive attitudes about school

  • Fewer discipline problems

  • Lower drop-out rate

  • Higher GPA

  • Higher ACT scores

  • Engagement of students who are at risk of being marginalized in traditional disciplinary programs

And yes… I know that we, as teachers, often like to teach alone in the safety and security of our classroom bubbles, where we can do everything our own way… but can we just take a second to recognize that our students will enter a knowledge-based economy where communication and collaboration are required, rather than optional? Part of teaching our students to be problem-solving team players with diverse perspectives is actually modeling being a problem-solving team player with a diverse perspective! Take, for example, my colleague Miss Maestra, the amazing Spanish teacher who collaborates with me on this project! (Check out her fun online Spanish classes at Partnerships like hers are what makes interdisciplinary learning possible to begin with! Who could you collaborate with on this project to take your first step toward interdisciplinary learning for your students? Its yet another way to make math More Than A Worksheet!


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