Overview & Goals
The How-To Guide acts as an instructional manual for teachers to implement the Chasing Einstein Challenge in their own math classroom. This guide provides the learners (mathematics teachers) with instruction and resources on gaining knowledge of the math practice standards, information on the gamification model, and instruction on differentiation among grade and ability levels.
To begin, the Chasing Einstein Challenge is an eight week gamification framework that aims to help students work on becoming creative and persistent problem solvers. The Chasing Einstein Challenge focuses on building a math mindset through discussion, reflection, and practice with the math practice standards. The challenge can be used early on in the school year to open up discussion about good math habits.
Math Practice Standards
The Chasing Einstein Challenge utilizes a pre and post survey in order to see progression of students' mathematical mindset. This survey includes fifteen Likert scale questions and three short answer questions. Students respond to the Likert scale questions with the statement that best reflections their opinion. This survey is not meant to be used as a grading assessment, but instead it offers insight into students' attitudes and beliefs about math.
The Chasing Einstein Challenge takes place over a nine week period. Each week your students spend 45 to 60 minutes dedicated to the challenge. The weekly tasks consist of watching a math practice video, problem solving with a math challenge, answering a few reflection questions. You can decide if you would like your students to work individually, in pairs, or within a team. The framework includes:
Students will earn Einstein Points (EPs) for their attitude, effort, progress, and reflection during Chasing Einstein. The goal is to earn as many EPs as possible. The team with the highest average of EPs at the end of the eight week challenge will be crowned the champion.
Students can earn EPs each week for their attitude and effort, math challenge progress, and reflection questions. It is important to not put the emphasis on speed and level of ability, but instead on progress, attitude, effort and teamwork.
There are many options when it comes to using a leaderboard to show individual and team progress. Google Sheets provides various graphs that can be created from the data input. Additionally, Pikocharts has the ability to connect with a Google Sheet and display the team points in a variety of ways. Explore a couple options and choose what will be manageable and useful for your situation. Additionally, a scoring sheet can be organized with student and team names along with weekly points. Feel free to make a copy of this scoring sheet in order to customize it according to your classroom.
The Chasing Einstein Challenge can be modified to fit many grade levels through the math practice standards, gamification model, and the math challenges.
First, the math practice standards are consistent across all grade levels. Therefore, the Math Practice Videos can be beneficial for all students. Additionally, you can provide further discussion on how the math practice standards apply within their grade level content through discussion on examples of recent learning.
Second, the gamification model as discussed above follows a weekly layout of watching and discussing the math practice video, working on the math challenge for approximately 30 minutes, and then answering a few questions to reflect on their mathematical thinking. This model provides flexibility in how you choose to use the resources. For example, you can choose to watch the video as a whole class and then begin a discussion about how your students have worked with a math practice standard and how it helps them establish a math mindset. Additionally, the math challenge work time can be adjusted to fit the needs of your students. Lastly, the questions listed at the end of each weekly module can be answered individually, within teams, or through a whole class discussion. These questions provide students with a chance to think about their thinking, so it is also beneficial to hear thoughts from other students.
Third, the math challenges provide a wide range of differentiation for ability levels. Each of the math challenges are low-floor, high-ceiling activities which provide every student an opportunity to work at their own level. These tasks provide students with a starting point that allows them to experience success and build confidence while working towards more challenging mathematics. Essentially, all students can begin at the starting point for each math challenge. As each challenge is a bit different, refer to our Math Challenges page for a short overview video, applicable mathematical concepts, and general starting points for your content level.