Over the past few months I’ve been asked for videos that capture a 3-Act Task being taught in the elementary grades. I didn’t have any, or know of anyone that has captured an elementary 3-Act except for this Teaching Channel piece.

Before moving forward, this post wouldn’t be possible without Dan’s trailblazing skills and introducing us all to 3-Act Tasks.

Last week while visiting a kindergarten class we tackled the Candyman. So in the spirit of vulnerability, here it is and I’ll take whatever feedback you can offer.

Act 1: Notice and Wonder

***The blur will disappear after 30 seconds. Little man had to blow his nose***

Act 2: Identify Variables and Solve Conflict

Here’s the kindergarten recording sheet our friends used to make estimates and show their thinking.

After students estimated, we shared and identified the variables needed to answer the question, “How many candies were in Mr. Fletcher’s hand?”

At this point students were good to go and got their model on.  We didn’t scaffold learning in any way because we were using this as a formative assessment.

Here’s what we got…

The context and colors of the candies really helped students explain and model their thinking.

Not all was gravy. There’s still lots of work to go but that’s to be expected. It’s kindergarten and we’re in October.


This student has mastered the art of drawing zeros. Lots of them.


Others looked rough too…


But when we looked closer and talked with the student, they counted the square pencil boxes for us. Awesome to uncover this hidden gem.

Really surprised to see this…


But my mind was blown with this little guy…


10 was his answer but 8 is what he modeled.

So we wanted to know more…

Mic drop.

Act 3: The Reveal

It’s always great to engage the youngins’ in 3-Act Tasks. I’ve heard colleagues say, “I don’t have time to do these types of lessons.”

I hope this helps in showing that we don’t have time, to not have the time.

Thoughts and feedback welcome.