Reflection: Student Self-Assessment Border Tiles: Seeing Structure in Algebraic Expressions - Section 4: Closing


Instead of having different groups answer different reflection questions for this lesson, I asked all students to answer the prompt:

  • Think about the first task you worked on, finding the number of tiles without counting them individually and answer the following prompt: What did you find most challenging about this task? Why?

I got some interesting responses.  Here are some reflections:

  • "Not being able to count them was challenging because then I actually had to sit down and step by step do the problem."
  • "Not taking the simplest answer to the problem, and having to do it differently."
  • "I found it hard because you had to just use equations to get the answer."
  • "The thing that made it most challenging is that I couldn't count the blocks and I didn't know any other way to find the answer."

These reflections remind me about how different this task is.  We are asking students to take a fairly simple situation and go about finding an answer in a different, and possibly counterintuitive way. I really like the richness of this problem. It was accessible to all students but there was plenty of challenge built in.

  What was challenging about not counting?
  Student Self-Assessment: What was challenging about not counting?
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Border Tiles: Seeing Structure in Algebraic Expressions

Unit 2: Multiple Representations: Situations, Tables, Graphs, and Equations
Lesson 1 of 17

Objective: SWBAT use algebraic language and symbols to represent geometric situations. SWBAT understand and use equivalent expressions. SWBAT describe underlying structures in algebraic expressions.

Big Idea: Don't count! Students find different approaches for counting tiles around a garden and then write rules that represent their methods.

  Print Lesson
Math, algebraic expression, Algebra, Graphing (Algebra), combining like terms, distributive property, Algebraic expressions, equation
  60 minutes
garden image
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