If you are an elementary teacher, the tool Desmos Activity Builder might be new to you. While I see most current activities for middle and high school, don't let this deter you from giving it a try! There are some interesting and powerful ways to leverage this digital activity builder for you classroom. I've started making a few activities myself!
While talking with an 8th grade teacher today, I was reminded of a lesson I've done in the past about combining like terms. I wanted to write a quick post to share and also so that I can have it saved to refer back to.
The lesson begins by showing this clip:
The kids always laugh and enjoy the silliness of it. When it keeps going, I hear a lot of "You gotta be kidding me!" and "ugh, how long is this going to go on?" Perfect. I feel like I'm creating the controversy (create the controversy, Dan Meyer suggests is a first step)
After the video, I talk about a simpler version of this same idea.
Me: What if I ordered 5 hamburgers, 3 orders of fries, 6 hamburgers, and 2 more orders of fries. Is there a better way to order that is less confusing?
Students: Yes! (they are almost frustrated with me!) Put the hamburgers together and the fries together.
Me: Oh, so if I wrote ((write on the board: 5h + 3 f + 6h + 2f)),…
I came up with 5 ideas for ways to structure 60-minutes of time with 1st-5th grade students. Think of these as recipes. A starting point. Something you can try as is, and then, as you get more comfortable, move around and adapt to your needs and the needs of your students. I don't know if you like to cook, but it is one of my favorite hobbies.
I love trying new recipes. For me, I try the recipe as suggested for the first few times. Once I get comfortable, I might substitute in some herbs. Maybe I change out other ingredients or move things around. It's the same idea for these structures!
Option 1: This first idea is based on the 5 E's model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. I love this model for encouraging exploration and being true to the constructivist philosophy that I love.