Here’s a 7th grade fractions task called City Lots. My colleagues designed it with two great extensions. I differentiated it by creating resource cards plus I modified the directions to challenge students who need it.
The basic task requires students to determine which of four companies owns the most land. They also have to calculate how much land each company owns based on four quadrants.
The activity was a hit with my 6th grade advanced math students. Most groups began with a strategy of cutting out the shapes to find which company owned the most land. While that was an effective strategy, it’s a difficult way to calculate exactly how much land was owned by each company. That’s where the resource cards came in.
Then the mathematical conversations shifted from cutting shapes to discussing how the property was divided. I asked probing questions such as, “What’s the minimum number of squares do you see?” Many didn’t see one unit divided into four quadrants.
We’re trying to do much more reading and writing in math class, and this task is another opportunity for students to articulate their mathematical thinking in writing.
In terms of time, I presented the task midway into the block. In those 40 minutes, no groups got to the extensions, four groups successfully completed questions 1 and 2 and the others are not far behind. We’ll get to the extensions the next time I see them. I did not hand out the challenge task but at least I was prepared.
I don’t think I’ll have an opportunity to try the challenge task, but if you do I would love to hear how it goes.