Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Monster Math - Section 3: Independent Practice - Create Your Own Monster Math Stories!


Eventually students will develop a sense of which model works best for them, but at this early stage of their development of an understanding of multiplication, it’s critical to give them a thinking model.  This way they can organize themselves and focus on understand the process rather than trying to figure out and order the steps for this particular activity.  

Over my years of teaching, including many at a back-to-basics school where everything was supposed to be neat and well-spelled at all times, I’ve learned the value of task analysis.  Sure, the END products need to be readable, and if they are going to be displayed, they must be neat and correctly spelled.  But in the context of this, or any lesson, it’s important to prioritize what to really focus on.  If I neglected to give children a thinking model upon which they could build their monster word problems, then working on sequencing, following multiple-step directions, and creating multiplication stories would all be top-tier tasks. 

I want the top-tier task in this lesson to be thinking about multiplication as a problem with an unknown product, multiplication as an equation with an unknown factor, and how multiplication can be represented within the context of a story.  The additional task in this lesson is a language task, adding interesting details and dependent clauses.  By providing students with a mental model I am in no way lessening the cognitive load, but I am making it more focused and productive.

  Problem-based Approaches: "Thinking" Models Make a Difference
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Monster Math

Unit 3: Multiplication
Lesson 10 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to attend to precision in solving multiplication story problems, and persevere in reading carefully to find the necessary information and eliminate irrelevant details.

Big Idea: Close reading skills are needed in math, too!

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Math, Number Sense and Operations, Operations , word problems, Critical Area, ELL
  69 minutes
monster math lesson image
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