Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Prism or Pyramid? - Section 3: Talking about Prisms


I've been working on increasing the amount of accountable talk within my classroom.  By accountable talk, I mean having students respond mathematically to the question posed or to another students response.  In order to facilitate this type of conversation, I have the students start by saying one of four statements:  I agree, I disagree, I want to clarify, or I want to build upon what someone is saying.  This was the first time I've used the sentence stems and the student really got into it.  

For example:

Rectangular prisms:  some students felt that a rectangular prism had 4 faces and some said 6 faces. I had them use this accountable talk strategy to figure out the solution.  It was amazing how they got into this conversation.  They were using their notes to support their choices.  Groups of students were mathematically boxing about who was right. They used the information of the vocabulary to help support their stance.  Here's what they found out.  If a rectangular prism has all the same shaped rectangles it would be considered 6 faces.  However, if the rectangular prism has 2 different shaped rectangles (bases) then it could be considered 4 faces with 2 bases.  They also said that we could label our answer by saying that the rectangular prism has 4 faces with 2 bases.  This was really rich, deep conversation they were having about their math.

Cylinders:  another great conversation came out of this too.  They used their sentence stems to decide whether or not the circular shape could be considered a base.  They talked in terms of polygons and parallels.  It was fascinating.


  Promoting Accountable talk
  Discourse and Questioning: Promoting Accountable talk
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Prism or Pyramid?

Unit 8: Geometry
Lesson 11 of 17

Objective: SWBAT identify prisms and pyramids by the faces, bases, edges, and vertices and by their nets.

Big Idea: Understanding solids and nets helps develop the concepts of volume and surface area

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prism pyramid
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