What goes into a Mathematics Portfolio? One Team Decides What Counts Most

The most effective way to put less is more into practice, a math team at Heathwood hall Episcopal school in Columbia south Carolina decided, was to decide together what should go into the mathematics portfolios of their algebra and geometry students. Using the guidelines of the National council of Teachers of Mathematics, Daniel Venebles, Amelia Havilnad, Allison Venables and Carlo Haigler made up the following instruction sheet for students compiling their portfolios. (For a complete evaluation form encompassing each category, contact Daniel Venables at   803-343-0425    803-343-0425 ).

Point of Focus
Your math portfolio will focus on the following:

  • problem solving(developing and executing strategies)
  • connections relating math to other subjects
  • mathematical communications reading and writing in mathematics
  • technology using computers and graphing calculators
  • teamwork working cooperatively with others towards a common goal
  • growth over time learning from your mistakes
  • mathematical disposition developing healthy attitudes about the subject

for each of the first three quarters, your portfolio will contain five entries. This fourth aerate substitutes a mini-exhibition for portfolio work. Two of these (entries #4 and $5 will not vary the other three called floating entries will vary from one quarter to the next. You will have five types of floating entries to choose from: all five are to be completed by the end of the third quarter. Individual entries will be assigned due dates throughout the quarter, and your teacher may collect and grade entries anytime after the specified due dates. Approximately every other double period, you will have class time to work on your portfolios, with your teacher as a coach. Producing quality portfolio work is a requirement to receive credit for this course, and counts for 20% of your quarter grade.

Floating Entries

Non-routine problem or puzzle
These problems or puzzles, require you to combine or invent problem solving strategies that are different from textbook procedures in order to solve them. They may or may not be related to topics studied in class. A detailed solution, complete with sources, will be submitted.

This entry will demonstrate an authentic use of mathematics in another subject area, including the fine arts. Math concepts, principles, and procedures will be employed in a well grounded, real world context. Some aspect of this entry will explain the math content, the content from the other subject and the connection between the two.

Mathematics in a historical context
This entry requires researching and summarizing in your own words either
1)a biography of a famous mathematician
2) the mathematics o of a particular nonwestern culture
3)the evolution of mathematical ideas in some branch of mathematics. Sources must be cited.

Math lab
This entry is an inductive search for an answer to a question of yours, a guided exploration leading to a generalization, a concept, or a mathematical relationship between variables. This will require c conjecturing, gathering data, examining models, viewing examples and counter examples, an drawing conclusions based on your evidence. a report of your process and your findings is required(all students work on their math labs during a week set aside for this entry)

Reading and Writing
you will read a math-related essay, then explain w hat you read by writing about it in your own words. Use examples from the reading and at least one example of your own, or make some original connection from this topic to some other topic.

Fixed Entries:

Progress Entry
With each portfolio submission all tests and quizzes taken to date will be submitted in chronological order with corrections. Complete all test and quiz correction on a separate paper, including a detailed revised and hopefully accurate solution to any problem in which full credit was not awarded. Questions with problem numbers must also be written out

Contents Entry
This entry should be placed first in the portfolio. It must include
1) a table of contents
2)a scatter diagram depicting entry types and methods
3) a letter to the reader addressing why you chose these topics, what you enjoyed learning, what difficulties arose and your reflections about the collection of entries; and
4) a work log sheet detailing the tasks along with the dates you worked on each

Method Types
As you complete your entries each quarter, you must also vary your methods using all the following methods by the end of the third quarter
1) making use of math related software or graphing calculator
2) constructing physical models or manipulatives
3) working without peers
4) working with peers using your scatter diagram, keep track of your method for each entry.