Monday, April 27, 2015

Flower Box Task

Normally I start these posts off with who was responsible for this week's task...this week's task is courtesy of me, @doctor_math. I normally don't make a lot of task...I usually don't have time and there are great educators out there who devote their time creating these resources. I'm not sure why I came up with this idea. I'm not much of a home improvement person nor am I much of a gardener. I did, however, feel this task was worthwhile for a few reasons. First, it gives a few situations using volume and surface area, and it forces the students to differentiate from the two. Probably more importantly though, it asks one question but forces students to be able to organize their data effectively to come to the solution. This is difficult for 6th graders with the vast amount of information being thrown at them, but no one gets better without being given the opportunity.

Here is the task the 6th graders saw on the television and their computers along with the standards being applied:


It's interesting to see how each student or group chooses to go about this task. To me, it makes sense to find the totals for everything and not piece parts together. Take the soil for example. A student should be able to find how much soil is needed in total and then find the total bags. I had many students do that, but I also had students who found out that a little more than 5 boxes make up a bag and had to deal with the leftover in each bag, or students who find the total for each individual side of the house and add those totals together. None of those approaches are better or worse, but they are all a lot different.

This task is also an indication of how mathematics and reading are connected. I noticed that many of my students who are traditionally lower in reading struggled with this task. There are so many pieces of information to find and comprehend that missing something or not understanding something results in an incorrect final number. Not everything in math is going to be a simple numerical equation and nor should it be. Mathematics nice to your reading and language counterparts!

Below are my student work examples and my discussion help sheet. I would swear that a few of my students were trying to one up me by writing their own versions of a dissertation. They worked together and managed to write a lot and both of their responses are unique and in their own words. For those of you worried that one student in a group will dominate the understanding and everyone else will follow along, here is a great example highlighting that if you want unique responses from group members, you will get it if that is the expectation. Enjoy!

Other Posts with Tasks Containing Student Work

Bubble Wrap Task

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