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

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Estimation, Fractions, Intellectual Need, Math Progressions, Modeling, Teacher Content | 11 Comments

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

Posted in Against the Norm, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Planning, SMPs, Teacher Content, Teaching in a Context | 7 Comments

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

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Against the Norm, Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Measurement and Data, Modeling | 21 Comments

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

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, 6-8, Intellectual Need, K-2, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs, Teacher Content, Teaching in a Context | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

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

Posted in 3-5, 3-Act Tasks, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Modeling, Number Sense, Patient Problem Solving, Teacher Content, Teaching in a Context | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

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

Posted in Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teaching in a Context, Who Knows?, Word Problems | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in 3-Act Tasks, Intellectual Need, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, Planning | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in 3-5, 6-8, Cheese Mover, Estimation, Math Tools, Modeling, Number Sense, Strategy Development | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Cheese Mover, Intellectual Need, Making Math Accessible, Modeling, Planning, SMPs, Strategy Development, Teacher Content, Who Knows?, Word Problems | 10 Comments

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

Posted in Fractions, Making Math Accessible, Math Tools, Modeling, Patient Problem Solving, SMPs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment