Week 1: Grades 3-4

Day 1
Honoring Ideas- Wanted: Everyone’s! (Grades 3-4)

We start this lesson with an activity that helps students learn to work well in a group.  This will help students when they engage in group work for the year ahead. We then introduce a powerful inquiry task called Four 4’s. This excites students so much they take it home and continue with their parents and friends! It is a great task for revisiting important number facts and relationships while engaging students in open inquiry. We have chosen it for the first day as it also helps students to feel comfortable sharing their thinking.

Content: All number operations

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Day 2
Visualizing Numbers Made of Dots! (Grades 3-4)

In this lesson we share a really cool and different way of looking at numbers, which will help students see factors and multiples. Students are invited to look for patterns and to color code and ask their own questions about the interesting representations. This lesson created “oohs” and “aahs” throughout the room in our trial – students were fascinated by the numerical relationships they saw, often for the first time. In the extension activities investigating consecutive numbers students can receive opportunities to understand the meaning of algebraic expressions.

Content: Factors, multiples, prime numbers, number relationships, algebraic expressions and equations

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Day 3
Folding Geometry with Brain Flip Flops! (Grades 3-4)

In this lesson we invite students to engage in a different type of mathematical thinking through a paper folding task. The task is interesting and challenging but students know everything they need to solve it. The students are also taught to be skeptical and to convince and reason. A 10 minute activity on visualizing is integrated into this lesson; you can watch a video of Jo teaching the visualizing activity here.

Content: Area, fractions, triangles, squares, estimation

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Day 4
Pascal's Triangle (Grades 3-4)

This lesson invites students to explore the world’s most famous triangle – often named after Blaise Pascal – and to look for their own patterns inside the triangle. They learn about triangular numbers and about the amazing connections that thread through mathematics. Tasks are also given – for this or a later lesson – that produce Pascal numbers in the solutions, which students find amazing!

Content: Patterns in number, triangular numbers, addition, powers

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Day 5
Growing Shapes (Grades 3-4)

This is a lovely task involving algebraic thinking, and begins by asking students to see a shape grow. Students share their different ways of seeing the shapes and then use their visual thinking to generalize and possibly produce algebraic expressions. Students are amazed by the different ways that others see the shapes. This task gives students the chance to link numbers, shapes, words and algebra in a totally engaging way that will require the firing of different brain pathways and be very productive for the year’s mathematical thinking.

Content: Algebraic thinking, generalization, forming an algebraic expression, algebraic equivalence

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