Over the summer I played along with Dan Meyer’s makeover series by spicing up a textbook problem using the distributive property. Today the kids completed the open ended Variety Show task and it was a hit in more ways than one. They collaborated, persevered, and constructed arguments. All while having fun.
Then the fun began by showing one of the blind audition clips from the Voice.
“Why are we watching this Mrs. Dooms?”
“You’ll see, Steven.”
Each group of three then received one copy of the task. I projected it on the screen. We read it aloud. Then they went to work on the giant white boards.
Two groups had trouble getting started or didn’t take into account the parameters of the show: twenty acts, about 2 hours in length, the need to consider set up and take down.
About 15 minutes into the task, the mathematical thinking became more clearly: three minute acts, two minutes for combined set up and take down, one minute per introduction. Yet the task asked for three scenarios. They began to make adjustments.
“Do you think the host needs one minute to introduce each act? How could you estimate how long it takes?” I asked.
“I could pretend I’m the host!” said one student.
“Yeah. Introduce my act as the kid who jumps through hoops of fire!” said another.
Expo markers were suddenly transformed into microphones. One student grabbed three and bundled them together, “I’m Barack Obama talking on TV!”
Two boys went to the front of the room and we timed an introduction.
“Our next act is Zach. Zach, tell me what you’re going to do?”
“You’re gonna watch me draw a horse!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Zach, the artist, and his horse!”
They timed their intros and discovered one minute was too much time. “Where would you put that extra time?” Nearly every group chose to give the extra time to the acts. One student thought the time could be used to interact with the audience. “That’s a possibility,” I said.
After all groups shared out the students reflected on one section of the rubric.
I wish I could tell you EVERYONE collaborated beautifully. Unfortunately one group was a disaster. Instead of collaborating, they silently and begrudgingly took turns creating each scenario. Every time I checked on them, encouraged them to work together, it was utter silence.
How do you handle these situations? Algebraniac, I just read your group task presentation. Did anyone in your session inquire about that?