Equation of Me

A Characterization Project
Integration: Math and English
Grade Level: 3-12
Project Time: ~3 days
Recommendation: Beginning of the year
Cost: $30

This is one of the best ways to quickly get to know your students! I recommend posting the ribbons up all over your room. Not only will you have access to important qualities and "likes" of your students, other students will also bond because they will see that another person in class (or in a different class) also shares common interests. One part of equity is to learn about what is important to your student. To better serve them, you must start to learn about what makes them tick.

Math Concepts: Introduction to equations, coefficients, and variables
This project covers the very basic idea of an equation in it's most conceptual form. It's more of a "get-to-know" type of project than a math-intensive project.

English Concepts: Essay writing, introduction and conclusion, basic body paragraphs
This project is more English intensive than math intensive. Students are immediately introduced, or refreshed, about the structure of writing (intoduction, body, and conclusion). At the appropriate grade level, you can decide if you want to use only adjectives, verbs, nouns, or a combination for each of the descriptors.

This is a simple project that takes just a few days to complete. Make sure to set the norm for how you want your projects to be turned in (quality, content, technicalities, etc.). Use the rubric or create your own to let students know your expectations. Since this is my first project of the year, I normally grade very strictly, but allow students to revise and resubmit to understand what an excellent quality project should look like. I highly recommend doing this project along with the students so that they also know some things that are important to you! Furthermore, you'll have something to put up on the walls early in the year, and nothing is better than for students to see their own name in big letters on the wall!

This will be one of the biggest bang for your bucks! Your school may have some of these materials in a cabinet somewhere waiting to be thrown out because most cash register paper became obsolete once people started emailing receipts. Check with your front office first!

  • 2-3 Rolls of 2 1/4-inch Cash Register POS Receipt Paper Cost: $10
  • Thick multi-colored markers Cost: $8 per pack of 12 colors

  • Computers: For typing the essays

PART I - The Equation

Express yourself as an identity equation using coefficients to stress important descriptors. Rank them in descending order. Use at least 5 descriptors.

Mr. Huynh = 7Teacher + 6Music + 5Hiking + 4Technology + 3Artist + 2Photography + 1Dance

Descriptors can be nouns, adjectives, or even verbs. I'm not picky about this section because I want students to freely express themselves in whatever way they want. If you're collaborating on this project, decide what is most appropriate.

PART II - The Essay

Why is the descriptor important to you? Answer this question for each of the descriptors (in paragraph form). There is no limit as to how much you can write. An average paragraph is 5 sentences long. Be thorough in your explanation so that I can understand and get to know "who" you are. In addition, include an introductory paragraph and a concluding paragraph.

Look at the example on the course webpage.

It is recommended that you do this project prior to assigning it. It will help you anticipate many of the questions students may have. In addition, you can use your example as a way to model for students what good writing is and the qualities of an exemplary project. After this project, save some exemplary projects as models for future students to see.

In addition, this is the part where you may address the importance of drafts. I often have students do several drafts with peer critiques before turning in a final project. I also have them include the drafts with their project so that they can see the improvements along the way. It will be worth the time to develop drafts as a norm in your class.

PART III - Organize

Make sure you do the following before turning in your project:

  • Typed all the parts.
  • Include your full name, period, class, and date.
  • Include the project guideline handout and rubric as the last page in your project.
Look at the example on the course webpage.

Because this is the first project, it is important to model every part of the project, showing students what your expectations are. I cannot stress how important it is to model exemplary work when doing project-based learning. You'll be pleased with the higher quality and not have to hand back as many projects to revise.

Sample Grading Rubric (Created with the Rubric Maker app.)


Part of learning is to see what exemplary work looks like. Look through the following work and get a feel for what I am expecting of you.

Exemplary work: Teacher's example:
  • Tan Huynh (Teacher, 2022) - This is a slightly different version of the Equation of Me. It includes a career goal that is written at the end of the equation (in parenthesis).

If you want a printed copy of the project, you can download it here. Feel free to change any part of this project to suit your learning objectives. If you have ideas on how to expand on this project, please contact me and share your ideas! Have fun!