# Category Archives: Modeling

## 3-Act Task: A 5th-grade lesson captured

A while back I shared a kindergarten lesson and I was really happy with the way it turned out. The 5th-grade lesson below, not so much. The students did great but there are definitely some things I need to improve. We recently finished up … Continue reading

## The Task Graveyard

It’s where my ideas go to die. But like the mighty phoenix, I have one idea for a task that keeps rising from the ashes. It just won’t die. If Bruce Willis was a math task, I’ve seen his face. … Continue reading

## I’m Placing a Hit on the Pseudo-Context

This robs students of everything mathematics should be… The “real world” connection The step-by-step procedure Circle the numbers you need to solve the problem The pseudo-context word problem. Lesson 19.2 infers that this unit is front-end load with procedures and formulas … Continue reading

## Get Your Model On: Modeling in the Elementary Grades

Dan Meyer’s work on mathematical modeling has been instrumental in shaping my own understanding. I’m super thankful for Dan’s commitment to SMP #4 over the years. So when he recently posted that he was shifting gears, I was bummed. It was like … Continue reading

## When Student Thinking Hits the Wall: VNPS

First week back to school and I was chomping at the bit to begin working on my #1TMCthing. My quick backstory about Vertical-Non-Permanent-Surfaces (aka VNPS) I first found out about VNPS on Nathan Kraft’s blog which referred me to Alex Overwijk’s … Continue reading

## The Manipulative Whisperers: The model tells a story

If you listen carefully you will hear them. They sit motionless in every classroom, on top of desks, waiting to tell a story. Without the story they are nothing. What’s most difficult is that you can’t speak for them because the … Continue reading

## Perplexity Drives Productivity

I think about the question mark every time I teach a lesson. I’ve been so carefully to get to this point. Yet sometimes my question mark comes from a path that looks like this. The opening part of the lesson is over … Continue reading

## Undoing Concrete Models

Students can create models that represent their understanding, but can they undo models that explain the reasoning of others? It was time to find out. I showed this picture to a 5th grade class and asked them to write an equation … Continue reading

## Teaching Keywords? Forget About it!

I received an email from a principal in my district last Tuesday: Please send me info on why teachers should be careful about teaching kids to pull out keywords from word problems as a key way to define what operation to … Continue reading

## More than one way to skin a task!

I tried “the Big Pad” with a 4th grade class and my anticipation of possible solutions was way off!!! I mean, c’mon Graham, think outside the box. Our students attacked this problem in more ways than a charter bus filled with senior citizens attacks an … Continue reading