This past week at OAME, I was pretty focused on spiralling the math curriculum and on finding more problem solving tasks to use with my class. I find that a lot of the tasks are a bit beyond our reach, which is frustrating.

One of the things I was introduced to was Graham Fletchy’s 3 Act Math Tasks. I so appreciate when a person is willing to create a resource like this and then share it with the wide world! While planning my week, I picked out a few in particular that I thought would engage my students, while also spiralling us back to some Big Ideas we haven’t worked with for a while.

Today we did this task, called Snack Machine. We have had a lot of practice working with each other. We have had a lot of practice thinking about a strategy to use to solve a problem. But this task, and others on the site, really allow for a lot of divergent thinking. There are multiple entry points, and multiple paths to a solution. It’s great!

In the Snack Machine, a video shows a girl buying something from a vending machine. We watched, then talked about it, then watched again, then talked again.

At this point, the children didn’t know what the problem would be. They were simply looking at the video and mathematizing it. The discussion started off with someone suggesting that the girl in the video looked at her change and was disappointed. That definitely had people thinking about why. I got a kick (as my grandma would say) out of one of them suggesting that the machine scammed her.

After the second viewing, we had things to add. We heard 4 coins fall, so which coins might they have been? That lead to a long conversation, mainly because 4 toonies would make that sound, but would be an awful lot of money for a bag of chips, but 4 nickels wouldn’t really make sense either. In act 2, there is a picture of the vending machine showing us that the chips actually cost 60 cents. Then another video shows the machine counting up the money. We added that to our board:

After this, I sent them off to figure out the coins she must have used. Amazing things happened! After everyone had a pretty good shot at solving the problem, I showed the final video. In that video we see that the change was 2 dimes. They used this to confirm that 80 cents had gone in, 20 cents had come out + 60 cents worth of chips, so it all made sense. No scam!

The money used was American money, and of course a little bag of chips would cost more than 60 cents in a Canadian vending machine. But I told them the two coins we saw were dimes, and that was good enough for them.

Yesterday we worked on Sliced Up, which had us estimating, thinking backward from oranges cut into wedges to whole oranges, and finally multiplying (5 whole oranges, 4 wedges from each orange so how many wedges in all?) For tomorrow, I am debating between It All Adds Up which is a nice money connection to Snack Machine, and The Whopper Jar which is a nice follow up to the estimating we did in Sliced Up. Whichever problem doesn’t make the cut tomorrow will our Monday task. I’m learning toward the money problem because I have a bunch of activities we could do as Number Talks to stretch that learning all week.

It’s EQAO week at our school and I like having some fun, confidence building task for my students to work on.