Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Forgetful Farmer Frank - Section 1: Warm up


My students consistently make the mistake of naming different lengths for the opposite sides of a rectangle. Instead of correcting this mistake myself, I really want the revision to come from the class. When they notice and correct their mistakes, they are thinking like mathematicians (MP3, MP6). 

Since my students need more experience reasoning with the structure (and definition) of a rectangle. I drew several shapes on the board, all quadrilaterals, and asked which ones were and were not rectangles. I asked them to explain why or why not and also to assign some lengths that might work for each figure. At each suggestion I remained neutral, and asked each Math Family Group to consider the suggestion. I then facilitated whole group discussions by asking questions like:

  • Does anyone have a comment or question about what we have on the board?
  • Is there anything you disagree with?
  • Does anyone want to respond to that?
  • Why do you think that?
  • Can you show us what you mean?
  • Does anyone have another suggestion?
  • Why does that make sense?

It took a lot longer to facilitate this discussion than it would have taken just to tell restate the properties of a rectangle for them, but it was worth it! My students made valuable connections for themselves and for each other. They needed ideas repeated and demonstrated in different ways. 

After reviewing the characteristics of a rectangle, we went back to their suggestions for the dimensions of Farmer Frank's field. We continued the same discussion format and they quickly noticed the problem with the different lengths of the right and left sides of the rectangle.

In case the mistake persisted further, I had grid paper on hand. I would have asked them to draw a rectangle with the dimensions they chose.

  Discourse and Questioning: Note to self, "Don't tell, ask!"
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Forgetful Farmer Frank

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 15 of 23

Objective: SWBAT use the distributive property and area models to factor variable expressions.

Big Idea: Students begin learning about factoring greatest common factor

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Math, factoring polynomial expressions, Expressions (Algebra), modeling, area model, distributive property with variables
  54 minutes
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