Setting Up the Project

bithell7bPut a digital camera in your students' hands, and baby, they're engaged. You see, this kind of technology not only helps the student make connections to real-world applications, it allows them to explore the mathematical relationships in their daily lives. Not to mention, it's cool.

Need some ideas on how to use digital cameras (and digital images in general) in your classroom? We turned to Glen Bull and Ann Thompson, authors of an article in the May, 2004 issue of Learning & Leading with Technology, that provided a four-step framework for the use of digital images across all content areas. Digital image activities may include:

  • Acquiring: Taking photos with a digital camera or using an image search engine such as Google Images.
  • Analyzing: Using images to support mathematical analysis, which may include observations or measurements. The goal is to get them to see mathematical concepts in real-world images.
  • Creating: Using images to assist in the creation of a product: a newsletter, brochure, cereal box, presentation, or some other educational product.bithell7d
  • Communicate: Using digital images to communicate mathematical ideas to other students, the teacher, parents, or any other audience.

The digital image, however, is only one part of the lesson. When using any kind of manipulative, game, or technology, teachers need to be sure that the main thing-- mathematics-- remains the focus.

(Bull, G. and Thompson, A. (2004). Establishing a framework for digital images in the school curriculum. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31, pp. 24-27.)

PDROM Bar Video

Let's watch Ms. Bithell prepare students to complete this project. In the first clip, Ms. Bithell refers students to the textbook and informs them of the goal of the project. One critical reason for the success of this activity is that the teacher keeps students focused on the mathematics in the activity.

Now watch the second clip, in which Ms. Bithell goes over the first parts of the project and gives directions for the digital camera portion of the project. How does she get them thinking about what items they might want to photograph?

Ms. Bithell leaves nothing to chance-- she also provides a handout of directions. Take a look: