Choice Time Continued

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use self-reflection to choose from various activities, based upon what work they think they need with patterns and expressions.

Big Idea

Providing choice helps keeps students motivated. Students move freely between activities as they practice what they have learned.


10 minutes

Reflection and revision close the loop on learning. If students merely receive work back as "graded" they don't have the opportunity to digest what they could do differently. Better yet, when given an opportunity to revise, students can grow from their mistakes.

Today, as I return student work from yesterday's centers I provide students with time to make sense of feedback that was provided.  This time includes opportunities to ask questions and make revisions.

I conclude this warm-up by putting an expression from one of the centers on the board x/12 and then list some examples of phrases (word) from the students' work.

  • a number divided by 12
  • 12 divided by a number
  • the value of x divided by 12
  • the quotient of x and 12

I ask students to talk with their group members to determine which of these phrases does not belong and why.

This discussion pushes students thinking about the properties of different operations.  Some students think that the last choice is incorrect because of the word quotient.

Comparing these phrases requires precise thinking, so make sure to extend the discussion to help students recognize that 12 divided by a number is different from a number divided by 12 because there is no commutative property of division.

Choice Time

40 minutes

While students work on their choice time activities, I pull small groups of students to the side table to work on using models and manipulates to solve problems.  The goal of this guided practice is to help students make connections between modeling, writing/expressing, and solving a problem.

Working with a small group of students (grouped by ability/color group), I ask them to take turns reading a story problem out loud.  Then, I guide the students through the process of:

  1. Making a bar diagram (part- part- whole model) to match the story.  
  2. Just one variable.  Coach the students to use just one variable when a relationship between two unknowns is provided.  For example, the problem states that there are 11 red hats and 3 more white than green.  Encourage the students to use w and w - 2 or g and g +2 for the unknown parts. 
  3. Use tiles to "act out" the situation and determine the value of the variable.
  4. Complete the bar diagram by using the expressions and value of variables.

During choice time, students have the freedom to move from station to station at their own pace. They are encouraged to attempt to solve the problems independently first, then ask a friend at the same station for help if needed.  Before moving on, I ask them to compare answers and have a discussion if their answers vary.

Choices (the majority of these resources are pulled from our text book, I use them as a review a the end of the topic to help students reinforce skills.)

  • What is this question asking me?  Students answer a variety of questions about patterns.  They unpack the directions before solving to make sure they are not making assumptions about the question.  
  • Writing and interpreting expressions: Students translate words into algebraic expressions and vis.versa. 
  • "Number Game" Open response question:  Answers only!  Students work on solving the number game open response question (this question uses a table to represent a pattern).  Students answer the questions first, focus on writing is saved for another day.  (This choice is a must do.)
  • Create your own patterns: Students create their own patterns, ask a question about it, and then solve it on the back of a page.  These patterns will be used later in the year as review for finding patterns and following the directions asked.

To create your own choices, tailored to your students, you can find activity resources online. For example, translating words into algebraic expressions can be found on the Math-Aids Web Site.

Group Share

5 minutes

Students share tricky problems, challenges they over came, and/or ask questions for the class to help. I've included a video example of a student sharing about the challenge she overcame during choice time. 

Ticket Out

5 minutes

Because we didn't have a great deal of time to share out today, I have students record their group share thought on the cover sheet of their work. Students organize their center work, and turn in their work/share product.