I developed a sample “Authentic assignment,” often called project- or problem-based assignments in which the audience is real and the purpose for doing the assignment is real. Not a hypothetical “Train A is leaving San Francisco at 7:15…” but a problem in which the students get an opportunity to solve a real-world problem for people they know or for real-world rewards.
This assignment focuses on my fictitious high school and its honors Junior math classes. The school needs a running track in addition to their football field, and the administration has approached you, the math teacher, to have your students design a track to compete against the professional architects and contractors. If the students’ projects win, they will be checked and drawn up by the professionals and actually turned into the school’s new track!
Click the link below to read more about the assignment. Feel free to use this assignment in your teaching, but do not republish without permission.
What a great authentic assignment for an honors class. I like the way you are using an actual project to get students involved. It is assignments like yours that make students want to learn. Education lessons do need to be authentic and real for students.
I know of a school where a teacher did the same type of assignment to design the imprint that would be on the new gymnasium floor. The students all participated and the winning design, chosen by the school board, was included on the new floor. The students on the winning team also got their names put into the design.