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!
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