Reflection: Complex Tasks Garden Design - Section 3: Problem solving


When I first decided to introduce consecutive sums, I didn't realize how many opportunities it held for deeper math investigations. I thought it might be an interesting sponge problem for my students who finished their work early. I quickly realized that it held so much potential to explore numerous avenues in math as well as help address knowledge gaps. I tried to keep this problem going on the side, but it kept creeping up to the forefront.

I highly recommend spending several days examining this problem at length. My students raised questions about divisibility and factoring, exponents and powers, and integers that helped us both remediate prior knowledge and extend our thinking beyond the standards. The best thing about this problem is that it engaged student interest in a purely mathematical exploration. Because they were asking the questions, they wanted to answer them. 

My students needed help getting started because they weren't used to this type of problem. Once they realized that they needed to try out a few numbers to get a feel for what was being asked, they were more comfortable.

I found the best use of my time with this problem, and problems like it, was to listen to student ideas and questions. This helped I helped me figure out which direction to guide them. them elaborate on and model their ideas by asking them to tell me more and show me what they meant. I brought their questions back to the class and asked them how we might investigate.

  Complex Tasks: This problem should be its own lesson!
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Garden Design

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 12 of 23

Objective: SWBAT use the area model to write two equivalent expressions using the distributive property.

Big Idea: Students will understand the form behind the distributive property and transition from the physical model to the mathematical model.

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1 teacher likes this lesson
Math, Expressions (Algebra), distributive property, area model
  54 minutes
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