To begin the school year, I like for my students to understand the importance of math in their everyday lives. Sometimes students think we are just giving them work to do because we need to take grades or just to keep them busy. For this lesson, the students use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems (4.OA.A3) relevant to their lives.
I let the students know that today we will do a task. As a class, we go through the steps of a task lesson. First, the students will have private work time to think about and plan how to solve the task. Next, the students will work in groups to explore the concept of the lesson. Finally, the students will share/analyze/and discuss the task as a whole class.
Each student has a copy of the Math All Around Me Task.docx at their desk. I give the students about 5 minutes of private work time to plan to solve the task (MP1).
It is important to let students interact with each other to discuss and critique math solutions (MP3). I put the students in pairs for this activity. After the private work time, I give the students 20 minutes to collaborate to find the math in Tommy's vacation. The students must decontextualize and represent the data symbolically (MP2). In their discussions, the students should always relate their answers and justification to math terminology or strategies (MP6).
During this phase, I monitor and assess the students' progression of understanding through questioning. Possible questions to help lead to the solution are as follows:
1. What did Tommy do on his vacation?
2. What numbers are in the word problem? What clues let you know what to do with the numbers?
3. How many people were on vacation with Tommy?
4. Should you multiply or divide? How do you know?
The students should work together to find the math in Tommy's vacation. From this activity, the students should see that math is all around them. They use it every day, at school, at home, wherever they go.
During this phase of the lesson, student solutions will be shared. While the students were working in groups, I identified solutions to be shared as a whole class for this phase.
I call groups to the front to share the math they found in the task, as well as any answers to the computation. This is a teaching opportunity for the few students who may still not see the math in Tommy's vacation nor comprehend that math is all around us. I use a document camera to display the student work on the Smart board for all students to see.
Here are some possible answers from the students:
1. 15 divided by 3 = 5
2. $30 x 3 = $90
4. 8 hours equal 480 minutes
5. 562 - 278 = 284
6. units of measure: miles, day, minutes
Here is a sample of Student Work.
After the share/discuss/analyze phase of the lesson, I close the lesson out by having the students do an exit ticket. This enables me to see how well the students understood the importance of math in their lives.
The students receive a Math All Around Me Exit Ticket to complete their answers. I collect these exit tickets to evaluate the students' understanding. I let the students know that this was a very important activity because they should now know the importance of coming to math prepared and ready to learn. They see math everywhere that they go.