1st-4th Math Coach Constantly Searching for New Ideas
After all my frustrations with testing and all the other nonsense that can bog you down as a teacher, this activity really picked things up for me today. 2 days of scoring training for the State Test can definitely make you feel like your goals at school are taking a hit. Scoring starts tomorrow but I get to have some groups today so I figured I’d do one of the activities I modified from Illustrative Mathematics. The inspiration for this lesson can be found here.
We started our group with a discussion about carnivals in general. I let each of them tell one story about a time they went to the carnival. This was mainly for entertainment purposes, but also to get it out of their system! I told them that they’d start with 10 tickets and we’d figure out together how many times they could play each game.
I asked them what info they would need in order to figure out how many times they can play each game. Eventually we got to the point that we would need to know the cost of the games (in tickets) to solve this problem. I gave them the information they asked for and we were off, trying to figure out how many games we could play.
Since the information was already color coded, I used the right number of correctly colored tiles to make sure that we did our calculations right. The tiles looked something like this…
They loved the activity as a whole. It was a really great way to get them thinking in a different way than they’re used to and they were disappointed when the bell rang.
I extended the lesson to see what would happen if they were given 12 tickets.
We figured all this out as a group and then had a discussion about two important concepts. I asked them which game they would choose if their parents told them they had to leave soon and to my surprise it was very intuitive to them. As I thought about it more though, it made sense. Most kids are excellent schemers, and know how to work a situation to their advantage. If they wanted to make sure they got through all their tickets in a short time, they knew they had to do the most expensive activity at the carnival.
The second thing we talked about was equal groups. This is my 1st grade group, and I know that the letter of the law says that multiplication is to begin in 3rd grade. But, I decided just to phrase our conversation in terms of multiplication instead of adding over and over. To my surprise, they were very comfortable with the language of “___ groups of ____ is _____ tickets.” The students in this particular group are all English Language Learners and struggle with English because their parents don’t really speak English at home so I wasn’t positive this would work given the communication barrier we run into from time to time. I was amazed that we got through it and were able to have conversations about groups of tickets for each game. They were able to tell me that since moon bounce was 4 tickets and the went 3 times, that they used all 12 tickets.