Monday, September 29, 2014

Dice Challenge

In the previous post I mentioned that I challenge students to do certain things that will not effect their grades, but could earn them some Oswald Dollars.  After we completed The Best Die activity, I challenged my students to create two dice that would tie in theory.  They could write any positive integers on the six faces of the dice, but it still had to have a sum of 21.  Students who were able to do this received 5 Oswald Dollars.  Below are the results.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lego Hotel Project

I am going to share my Lego Hotel Project with you.  This project is a cross between Fawn Nguyen and Andrew Stadel's Hotel Snap Activity and gamification.  I loved that the Hotel Snap activity was so open ended, and motivated students to collaborate, problem-sovle, brainstorm, etc.  I can go on and on here, it's just a fabulous activity and I wanted more.  Instead of the activity being a one day thing, I decided to make it a quarter-long thing (some students are asking for year long).

I started by thinking of a way that students could earn Legos rather than be given them and I came up with a classroom currency called "Oswald Dollars".  I started the year with the One Dollar Bill printed on green paper.

But then I was wasting time counting out so much money, I started printing the Five Dollar Bills too, printed on pink paper:

Now that I had a currency, I needed a way for students to earn it.  

The first way to earn Oswald Dollars is through passing tests.  You should know that I am using flipped mastery in all my classes this year, so students are working through the curriculum at their own pace.  I provide the students with a pacing guide to keep them moving.  If a student passes a Proficiency test before the pacing guide suggestion, he receives $6; after the pacing guide $4.  If a student passes a High Performance test before the pacing guide, he receives $10; after the pacing guide $8.  I wanted to reward them for HP especially since many kids were blowing it off the past few years.  

Another way students can earn money is through challenges that I post on my website.  I will be sharing some of these in another post.  

Last night was open house.  As students and parents entered my classroom I handed each person an Oswald Dollar.  The parents loved it.

I've been threatening to make students pay Oswald Dollars to me for misbehavior.  You know? stuff that you really don't want to write-up but it's annoying.  

Now that the students are earning money, here is how they can spend it.  

There are four types of Legos that the students can purchase with their Oswald Dollars:

1. Base Plates.  The price of these are based on the number of 'dots' it has.  My formula dots/8+3.  The students can't build until they purchase a base plate.

2. Regular 2x2 Lego Bricks ($5)

3. Special Lego Bricks ($6).  These are cylindrical, transparent bricks.

4. Decorative pieces ($7).  Trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.

Each group pools their money together and makes decisions together about what bricks to buy and how to build their hotels for the most profit.

Profit and Taxes on Hotels

Much of the following information was either stolen or inspired by the Hotel Snap activity I linked above...make sure you go there and see what they have written.

Hotel profit regular bricks:
I like to think of the regular bricks as your run-of-the-mill hotel room.  Nothing special here.
Each regular room on the first floor brings in a profit of $100; 2nd floor $120, 3rd floor $140, etc.

Hotel profit special bricks:
The special bricks represent themed rooms like the jungle room, or the disco room, etc.  
Each themed room on the first floor brings in a profit of $110; 2nd floor $130, 3rd floor $150, etc.

With taxes, the higher the hotel the higher the tax rate.  

Hotels that are 1 story high pay 15% in taxes, 2 stories --> 20%, 3 stories --> 25%, etc.

Property Value

I knew what would happen with the project, each group would compete with their classmates to make the most profitable hotel.  I didn't want this.  I wanted to class to work together somehow.  This is where property value comes in.  For each decorative piece the class has on their hotels, the profit increase 1%.  For instance, if a class collectively has a total of 11 decorative pieces, the profit for each hotel in the class will increase by 11%.

Income Sheets:

Each groups is required to fill out an income sheet report each week and turn it in by the end of the day Friday.  The income sheet is similar to a tax form.  It basically takes the students by the hand to fill in to information.  It's interesting to see how many students struggle to follow the basic directions.  It's great practice though for when they have to pay real taxes.

The Results (so far)

We're really only about two weeks into the project so far and the students a getting into it.  I posted the results on the class website so students can monitor how their hotel stack up (get it?  Stack up.) against other hotels.

Here are a few examples:

I have the window sill set up by class.  You can see my attempt at roads.  The students love checking out other classes hotels and how many decorative pieces each one has.  I found that these students will do almost anything for Oswald dollars.  

Here are the resources:

What I Learned from my High School Social Studies Teacher

Back in high school there was this Social Studies teacher (Let's call him Mr. A) that made teaching look easy....almost too easy;  like ...