I showed this video as a way to engage the students in our task of building a dog boarding kennel, and as a way to show them how kennels were set up. Many students may not have ever seen the inside of a boarding space, so showing them the play space, separate living spaces, and walkways is important.
This video automatically moves into more "playtimes" at this kennel, so when the children work later, I keep the videos playing with the sound OFF.
Following the first part of this video (I turn it off for our discussion - too distracting!), I ask students to share with their partner what they think will be important in a dog boarding kennel, and what math they may need to use in order to design our kennel. Now they are excited to get working!
Display the project, which is in the resources of this section, or your own, for the students to view as a whole class. Then explain what the task is from the "board of directors" and make a big deal out of them being the architects of the building. Explain this is what real designers do.
At this time, I review how to get a certain area by multiplying factors, or length x width, asking the students to give me possible configurations for a 20 square foot area, or a 15 square foot area.
This warms their brains up to think in multiplication, which is what I will be watching for today. I do not give them any other criteria other than what is explicitly on the project form.
As I watch and listen today, I will make plans for the next day's steps.
As the students work, remember to allow time for personal exploration/experimentation and decide on some sort of organized plan. Watch for students to be a bit random and also watch for those that tend to begin with some organization.
You will work with each group a bit differently. I try to focus my questions and statements around what they are doing mathematically and why they are choosing to do so. In doing this, I'm nudging them to the next small step in their next design. Remember, they will be designing for a number of days.
The goal is to get them to be more efficient and to apply a bit more of their math thinking and skills each time. Teach today for better understanding and application tomorrow.
Listen in as these boys explain how their plan did not work out and what they did to rectify it.
There are several ways you may choose to bring closure to today's session. One powerful way is to have groups do a "work tour" where they rotate around the room and examine other's work. If you do this, give the students a prompt to look for ideas for their next session that may help them create a more focused plan.
You might, as I did, choose to have student partnerships, pair with another partnership and "present" their work for today. In this activity, the students verbalize what they did and ask for feedback from the listening partners.
Another option would be to have the students journal about what they did today and how they might improve their design for tomorrow, including a mathematical example.