WELL....I didn't do it on VDay. Just too much to do. BUT I did do it the day after, and I am back to report about it with SUCCESS!!!!!!
I started the lesson asking the students how they would go about covering a present that they received. Many of them knew to wrap it (and a few would just put it in the bag of course...like me ;) ) We talked about how, when you wrap a present, you want to cover the entire box so that the person getting the present can't tell what it is...that would ruin the surprise after all.
|Here is the page I gave the students|
Then I put the requirements for the concept lesson on the ELMO. I asked one student to read it aloud while the others followed along. Then, I asked them what the prompt was actually requiring us to do. The students basically restated the prompt in several ways. This allows ALL students a chance to access the prompt. My English Learners especially benefit from this strategy. The repetition of the prompt, and the careful dissection means that we will not be stuck on the WHAT of the prompt and they will focus on actually doing the math.
Then, I had them work individually for 5 minutes. They planned out what they *thought* should be done to solve the problem. After the 5 minutes were up, the students worked with their table partners to go about actually solving it.
There were many different plans of attack. Some went straight to measuring the tissue box and working some sort of math problem. Others, started cutting the paper right away. Still others discussed a combined plan extensively. As all of this was going on, I was walking around asking them, "Can you explain why you are doing what you are doing?", "Tell me about your plan." or "What do you think we will find out by doing ____?"
The more they worked, the more it became apparent to me who knew what they were doing, which students were on the right track, and who needed more scaffolding/attention.
All of the examples above give me a good idea of where my class is and what they understand in math. It is very eye opening as a teacher and helps me to tailor my instruction a bit more.
The lesson took about 40 minutes. After most students seemed to grasp what we were doing, I closed the lesson with some "anonymous sharing." I took a few of the sheets from the students as they were working (we didn't put names on them to begin with just for this purpose) and put them on the ELMO. I asked the kids to explain what the students were thinking, to see if they could tell from the evidence on the paper what steps were taken and what the author thought needed to be done to solve the problem. This really allows the students to see that there are more than one strategy when solving math problems. It also helps to cement in the concept.
The next day, when I did my formal algorithm lesson, the kids just got it! They understood that we were just looking for the area of the 6 sides of the rectangular prism and adding them together. It all clicked, I know, because they had this concrete exploration ahead of time. And today, on the test, 90% of the students got the surface area question right!
This idea of concept lesson doesn't have to be for surface area. It can really be for any big idea you are teaching in class. I will say that they are frustrating to teach, but the end result is amazing. I highly recommend trying one in your class. I guarantee you will be happy with the outcome. :)
This originally was a Valentine's Day lesson, BUT you don't have to do it then. I have added a second concept lesson that is for a "party" (so you can use it anytime, but still keep the same idea of covering a present) Just click the picture of the printable above and it will be attached!
If you are looking for more measurement themed ideas and freebies, here is a link to some great ones, spanning all grade levels. Enjoy!