Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Where Does My Stuff Come From? Part 4: U.S. Trade Data - Section 2: Intro to Part 4 and Making Guesses


In a PD today, we watched a Dan Meyer lecture about his penny pyramid problem.  Videos like this should be required viewing for all new math teachers, because they're instrumental in helping us unlearn everything we thought we learned about teaching when we were students.

Right now, I'm particularly interested in one of Dan's moves that is adaptable enough to become a common, frequently used practice at any level of mathematics.  

He asks the audience to venture a guess about the number of pennies in a big pyramid, which is typical enough.  But then, he also prompts everyone to give a guess that is definitely too low, and another that is definitely too high.  Think about how that gets student involved.  Even if a student feels overwhelmed by trying to get a right answer, at least they can come up with some wrong answers that will provide bounds for their answers.  That's what it takes to develop number sense.

Such a structure would work perfectly in this context today's activity, and in the future I'll be sure to use it.  Rather than just asking kids to guess the total dollar value of all U.S. imports, I'll ask everyone to give an answer that they're sure is too low and another that is too high.  I'll be excited to find out if anyone's too high guesses actually approach the correct answer!

  Impossibly Low and Impossibly High Answers
  Discourse and Questioning: Impossibly Low and Impossibly High Answers
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Where Does My Stuff Come From? Part 4: U.S. Trade Data

Unit 5: Statistics
Lesson 16 of 20

Objective: SWBAT make strategic use of an online tool to collect U.S. trade data in a two-way frequency table.

Big Idea: Big numbers open students up to the bigness of the world.

  Print Lesson
Math, Economics, Statistics, Interpretation and Inferences, World Trade, data collection, data organization, data display, internet research, real world connections, Business
  43 minutes
u2 l16 student guesses p7
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