Reflection: High Quality Task Introduction to Volume: Origami Boxes - Section 1: Launch Origami Boxes


A potential pitfall of this task is that it may seem too simple or even “easy” for some students in this class (So we just fill the boxes with beans? Done!).  I wanted to address this feeling head on, acknowledging the task’s deceptively simple nature and promising students that rich and interesting mathematics lay beneath the surface. 


I made sure to frame this task in such a way as to validate the positive group norms that would lead to groups’ success on the task.  Having taught this lesson before, I have actually witnessed groups of students notice something important in their data—for example, the number of beans does not grow linearly even though the paper does—and completely choose to ignore this observation because it was inconvenient.  This is hugely problematic because convenience, in this case, stifles the mathematics that needs to rise to the surface. 


For this reason, I reiterated the notion that group norms would be especially important for students to convince themselves, firstly, and ultimately a skeptic, of their ideas.  Not only would they need evidence to support their claims, but they would also need to present their ideas in a convincing manner, a process that can yield better results through thoughtful collaboration.  I also told students I would circulate the room, taking notes on how group norms enabled groups to ask mathematically important questions and discover insights.  

  Framing the Task
  High Quality Task: Framing the Task
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Introduction to Volume: Origami Boxes

Unit 10: Geometric Measurement and Dimension
Lesson 9 of 14

Objective: Students will be able to collect data, look for patterns, and make predictions about the volume of similar rectangular prisms.

Big Idea: By building origami boxes and filling them with beans, students will see how the volume of each box grows as the dimensions of the paper increase.

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