Google It!

How many times a day do you turn to Google Search for an answer, clarification, or more information?  I do it all the time and even had my whole Algebra 1 class hunting for information on the Hope Diamond today!  It all started when I gave my students this information and asked them to come up with the question:

In 1673, the Hope Diamond decreased in size by about 45 carats, resulting in a 67 carat diamond.  

I thought we were solving a simple word problem but I quickly realized that they didn’t even know what the word problem was about.  While some of the students asked what the original weight of the diamond was, many of them were asking what happened in 1673?!  Others were asking what the Hope Diamond is.  One student asked what a carat meant.  With 15 minutes left in the class, we quickly solved for the original weight of the diamond, and then turned to Google to find the answers to all of their other questions.

I created a Google Document, shared it with the class, and had each student editing the document from his/her iPad.  They were reading articles from the Smithsonian and PBS (in math class!).  They were finding pictures and posting links in our Google Doc.  Some students could hardly contain their excitement to learn about the curse that haunts those who touch the Hope Diamond!

I surprised myself today with how quickly I was able to turn to our 1:1 program as a way to engage my students with something I had not planned ahead.  But really, what’s the point in solving a problem about the Hope Diamond if you don’t get to learn about the Hope Diamond?