Grade 7 Math Fair

Candice Shaw and Carolyn Armstrong~ Grade 7 Math/Science

On December 19 our grade 7 students hosted their Math Fair. Students were given the task of finding a challenging math problem that isn’t easily solved at first glance and has possible extension activities. Students created their trifolds and activities to share with the rest of the school.

CSS Grade 7 Math Fair from Calgary Science School on Vimeo.

Student Assignment:
1. Choose a math problem that is not easily solved at first glance. A math fair problem should make anyone have to stop and think. Once you have chosen a problem, it must be approved by the teacher. If you have trouble choosing a problem ask for assistance. Good places to look:,, search “Logic Puzzles” like “Who Does the Fish Belong To?”.

 2. Work through the problem to see if you find it interesting and challenging. Try not to look at the solution until you have figured it out for yourself.

 3. Think about the strategies you used. What mathematical concepts did you uncover? What patterns did you observe?

 4. Begin to make a list of things you would need to put together your display/trifold for the Fair. You want it to be eye-catching and professional looking. i.e. Use lines for sizing letters and spacing words. You want to attract people to your display – not just have them glance and walk by on their way to a more interesting-looking display.

Assessment Rubric:

This was my first time completing math fair in a classroom setting, and it was successful. The students were engaged and excited, especially once they had found a problem that they enjoyed. They were keen to create a display and show off their problem to other classmates, students, and teachers. Students were given a chance to become experts with their problems, and they had a responsibility to the rest of their group.

There were some difficulties with ensuring that all group members contributed equally (as this is usually an issue), but the peer- and self-assessments worked well to give a clearer picture of all performance. Many of the problems chosen were logic problems, and this broadened the students’ view of mathematics beyond number concepts.

This project could be completed at any grade level, which makes it a versatile idea. I would definitely try this project again, although I would consider having students create more original problems, rather than simply choosing a problem and rewriting a story. Overall, it was an enjoyable project for the students, and it offered good insight into what each student could do and how they were willing to challenge themselves.  

3 thoughts on “Grade 7 Math Fair

  1. Candice and Carolyn; I appreciate the special effort you have made to share your Math Fair experience through your blog. I am sure other teachers will appreciate your overview of the assignment and the assessment rubric. As well, you share some valuable insights and suggestions for enhancing this unique learning experience. It would be interesting to hear from other teachers who build on your ideas and organize their own math fairs.

    I enjoyed the opportunity to see some of the projects and to interact with the students. I was impressed with their enthusiasm and the level of engagement. They enjoyed the challenge of developing problems and attempting to solve the problems that other students had presented. The students demonstrated a deep understanding of complex mathematical concepts. The video clip was effective in highlighting the key elements of this learning experience.

  2. Thank you for the comment. The project is based on the math problem called “Lights Out”. You can find more by searching “Lights out math problem”. The students created the light box on their own as a hands on part of their display. It was made from a Kleenex box, and some switches, LEDs, batteries and more that they purchased on their own.

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