Reflection: Student Ownership Farmer John and Farmer Fred Day 1 of 2 - Section 1: Warmup


Students who have become accustomed to problems that provide all necessary information and have a single correct answer will probably resist or give up and wait for additional direction. I found that a few kids welcomed the challenge once they understood that there was no single correct answer and it was up to them to figure out several different possibilities. Other students, however, were uncomfortable with the change. I want students to learn to enjoy math and enjoy thinking and I really want to avoid feeding a negative attitude, so I decided not to spend a lot more time helping them get started on a process they were frustrated with. I also don't want to encourage reliance on the teacher.

Instead I used an alternate problem to transition these students. I didn't hand it just to those individual students, but brought it to the whole math "family" group. This way I didn't single someone out as needing more help, but some of them actually viewed it as an indication that they were ahead. I ask the whole group to look at the examples on the page and discuss which ones they think could be possible dimensions for the two fields and suggested that it may help them think of other possible dimensions. Having the problem ahead of time allowed me to walk away and let the task and the conversation do the scaffolding and NOT the teacher. 

I was not intending for this to be part of the conversation, but most of the groups that used the alternate problem had a really good discussion about the most realistic dimensions, which prompted them to revise their diagrams!

  Student Ownership: Preparing students for less directive activities
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Farmer John and Farmer Fred Day 1 of 2

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 1 of 23

Objective: SWBAT create diagrams of different rectangular fields matching a particular criteria.

Big Idea: Students review the area formula for rectangles as well as become familiar with a model for the distributive property.

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