Math teachers are discovering that CSI math activity engages middle school students, encouraging them to solve problems involving reasoning, math skills, and code deciphering.
Although they are in two different schools on opposite sides of town, the Seventh graders in Megan Mulcahy’s pre-algebra class at Lincoln Middle School and the math students at Liberty Middle School were engaged in the same activity. The district math curriculum committee is made up of teachers who are promoting identical instruction.
According to Mulcahy, the curriculum committee focused on developing the math curriculum after the state adopted the Common Core standards.
“As we took apart the Common Core Standards, we found areas that were covered within our grade level and then we attempted to find activities that would cover those areas but in a group setting or just a fun way for the kids to learn,” Mulcahy explained. “Or in this case, re-teach the topic a second time,” Mulcahy said regarding the CSI activity.
In the CSI activity, students were detectives who solved mathematical puzzles to find a cryptic mesage. Students needed to work in small teams, reviewing math concepts they had learned earlier, such as factors and multiples, and prime numbers.
“So for example, this first one has them go through this box and cross out any prime numbers,” Mulcahy explained. “In order to do that, they have to know the difference between prime and composite, and then they have to identify the prime numbers.”