Sunday, December 30, 2012

Math Task

I used this math task with my advanced third graders. This task can easily be adapted for other grades simply by changing the number of quarters. To begin the lesson, I asked students to identify the patterns posted on index cards that were handed to them as they walked into class. The patterns on the cards were similar to the following ~ Pattern #1: 3, 5, 7, 9... Pattern #2:  A, A, B, B, C, ... Pattern #3: 11, 22, 33, ... Depending on the readiness levels of your students, you can adjust the patterns you use to launch the task. Students were asked to discuss the patterns and identify some of the similarities and differences amongst the patterns. This was used to activate thinking and set the stage for the task. Then we discussed the meaning of the word pattern.

Once this common foundation was established, we reviewed the "I can..." statements for the task. Setting clear targets of learning can help to set a purpose for student engagement. Click the image below to see what we focused on during this task.

Before actually working on the task in collaborative groups, we spent time deconstructing the math task as a whole group much like we deconstruct text in reading. I posted the math task on chart paper for all to see. As a class, we discussed the meaning line by line. The goal was to remove barriers and create a clear picture of what was intended so once the students got started, they would be ready to tackle the task. A few minutes upfront saved minutes of work time and fewer hands went up.

This task not only ties into the CCSS, it also allows for students to practice Mathematical Practice #1: Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them. My hope was once students began this task after we deconstructed its meaning, they would be able to dig deep and continue working even when faced with a challenge and most importantly be able to justify their answer by using more than one strategy. Click the image below to grab a copy of the math task.

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With a few minutes left of class, students briefly shared their procedures with each other and then completed a Lesson Recap. This was used to help me better understand the level of understanding of my students and where I would need to take them the next class period. A quick formative assessment can help to synthesize learning for the students and provide valuable information to guide further instruction. Click on the image below to download a copy. 


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