Reflection: Complex Tasks Making Sense of Surface Area (day 1 of 2) - Section 2: Warm up exploration

 

This process of making sense of the question may take some time and it is important to allow students to follow their own thinking and discuss their ideas with their groups. Everyone will have different ideas and it will take time for them to articulate their thinking. It takes time for them to recognize and work out mistakes. These missteps and detours are a really important part of developing a sense of surface area and building conceptual understanding.

They also need time to understand the reasoning of others and incorporate those ideas into their own existing knowledge. For example if one student counts squares to find the area and another finds the area without counting, but by partitioning the shape, both will deepen their understanding of area if they can reconcile the two ideas. I think if the time is not devoted to this process we lose an opportunity to deepen and connect student understanding and decrease the cognitive demand and complexity of the task.

When groups seem to get stuck it is probably because they are not making their ideas clear to one another and I always start by having them explain what they have done so far. I am also sure to ask them to explain any drawings they have done like the flat pattern. This helps make their thinking visible and clear to each other and is usually enough to jog some new ideas. 

  Complex Tasks: Devote the necessary time!
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Making Sense of Surface Area (day 1 of 2)

Unit 9: Exploring Surface Area
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: SWBAT understand and compute the surface area of a 3 dimensional object.

Big Idea: Surface area is a two dimensional measurement of a three dimensional object.

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2 teachers like this lesson
Subject(s):
Math, surface area, Geometry, multiple methods, collaborative groups, manipulatives, visual representation
  54 minutes
representing their thinking
 
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