I have been thinking a lot lately about wanting to give my students more authentic formative assessments with real-world application. Last week my students were learning about speed in Science. Our curriculum wanted them to understand the formula for speed being a relationship between time and distance. I could have found some problems online and printed them out to practice the calculations. I decided though I wanted to give them something that might have personal meaning to them. I told them the assignment was to plan a day trip their family could take here in Texas. They had to pick a city here in Texas that they could drive there and back in a day. We then got on Google Maps and they plotted directions from their house to the city. Even though Google Maps gave them an estimated time to get to their destination, I had them compute the time using the formula for speed.
For students who picked locations with an hour, they just used an average speed of 40 miles per hour to compute the time to reach the destination. For students who chose a city further away they assumed a highway speed of 60 miles per hour. We talked about how choosing a lower estimate allows some room for traffic and slow downs. It gave them a chance to practice computing the relationship between speed, distance, and time, but they also thought about what it would be like to plan for that in real life. Students who wanted extra credit then planned out what they would do on their day trip while visiting.
For my students in Math grades 5 and 6, I wanted to give them a take-home project for Thanksgiving that would allow them to think about real-world math applications. Many of my students are studying fractions, so I thought that Thanksgiving recipes was the perfect at home real world application. Before giving the project, we did a Math warm-up today answering some questions about a recipe. I got the sheet from this Thanksgiving Math pack from the Lesson Lady. I am using her math sheets as warm-ups all week. She has a variety of skills covered, so it has turned out to be an easy way to get some themed math practice in when I don't have much time this week for more elaborate games and task card activities.
I typed up the directions for the project today and handed it out to my students. I gave it as extra credit. They are going to choose a Thanksgiving recipe. They then have to transform the recipe for a different amount of servings (i.e. double recipe, triple the reciple, or cut it in half). I told them to really think about their family's needs on Thanksgiving. They then have to compute the new amounts for the ingredients based on the new serving amounts. The final part is to make the recipe. They will either video themselves making the recipe or take pictures of themselves making the recipe and type up the directions to the recipe to go with their picture. You could easily turn this into a Math and Language Arts project. I just assigned it for Math. Many of my students seemed excited about it, so we will see how many choose to do it. You can get a copy of the directions I handed out here. They are just simple directions in a Word document, but you can edit them as you need.
What are some ways you try to incorporate authentic assessments with real-world applications?