Reflection: High Quality Task Area of a Room: Basic Practice - Section 3: Measuring (Imaginary) Rooms and Reasoning About Size

When giving the students the dimensions of the room they were to "build" with their meter sticks, I used the examples of either a classroom or a dormitory at an orphanage.  Few of the students reached the conclusion that a room that can hold 10+ students sitting criss-cross in rows may not actually be a functional space.  Those students who did realize this had some difficulty communicating this to their peers, and often became frustrated because the realized the scenario from which we were operating was, in some ways, ridiculous.  A more realistic way to conduct this lesson would be with 120 or so meter or yardsticks.  This would allow for the creation of rooms with real-world dimensions.  We did not have access to that many meter sticks, thus the smaller rooms.  This situation was a perfect environment in which to assist students in expressing their critique of the reasoning of their peers in a positive / non-derogatory way.

Additionally, it was interesting and informative to watch the children reason with each other about which dimensions were the best choice for a particular room. (For example, which room is a better classroom, a 4 x 5 room or a 2 x 10 room?)  I worked hard not to interject, and instead asked questions that prompted them to further elaborate upon their thinking, such as, "I hear Devin say that a 5 x 4 room would be better as a classroom than a 2 x 10 room because kids could walk around more easily.  I see that Sidney disagrees.  What is it that you prefer about the 2 x 10 room Sidney?"

Critiquing the Reasoning of Others (MP3)
High Quality Task: Critiquing the Reasoning of Others (MP3)

Area of a Room: Basic Practice

Unit 14: Area and Perimeter
Lesson 2 of 8

Big Idea: Creating rooms with different dimensions but the same area improves understanding of multiplicative principles.

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72 minutes

Jennifer Valentine

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