Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 3: Teaching Through Problem Solving to Build Grit and Perseverance › Lesson 32: How we can reshape our lessons around the Hero’s Journey? › Lesson 32: Question & Discussion

Lesson 32: Question & Discussion
Posted by Jon on May 1, 2019 at 11:50 amHow will you use the Hero’s Journey Template to plan a lesson this week?
OPTION 1
Choose any problem from the textbook or any other lesson you like and map it out on another copy of the Hero’s Journey Lesson Template to include elements, teacher moves, questions, tasks fit onto the Hero’s Journey.
OPTION 2
Choose a task from the list by grade level, map the lesson out to include elements, teacher moves, questions, and tasks fit onto the Hero’s Journey curve.
Share your lesson choice and any comments or questions here or with your community partners.
Joseph Barnas replied 4 days, 12 hours ago 31 Members · 45 Replies 
45 Replies

Thinking about using physical tiles for this, I have the game Blokus which will be great for providing the tiles, just need to print a 100s board. Using physical tiles, will be interesting to see about pieces that are not symmetric. The L shape could be in 8 different orientations! Does that mean 8 different equations to solve?
Fun!
Also, what happens if the grid is not 10×10, maybe 20×20, how does that change things?


Patricia, great use of the journey here. I can almost see the “realization” and thinking happening in this lesson.


I have attached an image of my example.

@dawnoliver Great intro here. I dig the missing value in the box and having students try to figure it out. Here’s a link to our series on teaching this topic using manipulatives.
To keep your “missing value” theme going you could use tiles and have them determine what missing number of tiles here would complete the rectangle?
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr_1FQmwYjn03xcEyk5uEDMtY6Xudl9u4


To start our journey I took a lesson that was comparing linear and exponential functions. The textbook first had the class read the story and then create three models to represent each situation. The situation was comparing two companies and their plan to increase net profit. After we read the story I asked students which company they would invest in, which company did they think would have the most profit.
Students chose companies and I place them on the board. This created engagement, participation, and curiosity. From there I asked students what they would need to know to help them make a better decision or to actually determine which company would have the greatest net profit increase.
Students went back to the story and found information within the story that would help them create tables, graphs and equations. Students then busily started creating models.
Following student work, students provided information from their models to prove or disprove their initial prediction and why they would keep or change their prediction. It was very beneficial to plan a lesson with the mountain journey on paper in front of me.
As I presented the lesson I had forgotten pieces of the lesson and it derailed it for a bit, but when I went back, the students had a reason to be engaged in the lesson.

Attached is my template for the Charge (phone charging, functions) lesson. I would love to use this for next year!

love it and glad you found a keeper for next year ðŸ™‚


I’m working on a geometry lesson for the coming week on ratios of line segments, with the ultimate goal of introducing the idea of calculating them using weighted averages. This is a good exercise to get my thinking around it! I’m always reminding myself to preplan on what to look for while students are solving problems, and this helped with that.
here’s my template:
 This reply was modified 9 months ago by Jonathan Lind.

Thanks for sharing and glad to hear that you found the process helpful!

I would love to see examples for elementary. It would spark my curiosity! : )


I am not sure if this lesson quite “fits” the hero’s journey. I feel like the one with the 100s chart and pentominos was better for that because it is so openended but I do like the video aspect of this one. I have already taught Pythagorean theorem this year (although it was review) so I don’t plan to use this lesson this time. However, I think it would be a good review for my students next year.

I chose Knotty Rope (grade 3) – Attached is my Hero’s Journey.

I really like the Pentominoes, and think I will use that to help them understand equations better. Not sure what that is going to look like on the HerosJourney just yet, still figuring out the best way to use that tool.

I used the Magic Rectangle today with an Algebra Support Class. They are dual enrolled in Algebra 1 and Math Support. These students don’t have any number sense and dependent on their calculators. We started with using 21 buttons and playing the game where they take away 1, 2, or 3. Seeing them using a calculator to take away such small numbers at first but then they were so wrapped up in the game they were doing the subtraction on their own. WIN! A few kids caught on to if they get to four first, they win. We will continue playing on Friday to see if more kids can find the pattern. That would be the first part of the Hero’s Journey. They are building struggle for sure. The engagement level rose 10 floors with this game.
Next came the Notice/Wonder from the Magic Rectangle activity. The kids were actually writing things down, sharing with their group, asking great questions. They went to vertical white boards to start drawing different rectangles. They needed my assistance on how to organize. They looked at other teams ideas to start working on their own. I needed to ask them about the pattern because they didn’t know what to do next. I feel their Hero’s Journey perseverance was very shallow. The attention span was minimum. Maybe because this is the first thinking task I did with them, it wasn’t the greatest. I went back to my old ways at the end of the period and started teaching them the formula/pattern. They shut down, stop thinking and the lesson was over. I know I shouldn’t feel defeated but I do.

Sounds like you had a huge win with the game of nim followed by a pretty typical first shot at attempting a problem based unit. It sounds like you have students who are going to take time to dig in and especially if they know youâ€™ll eventually go back to telling them what to do nextâ€¦ remember – as you mentioned – telling them how to do it didnâ€™t actually work as they shut down â€¦ so think about what questions you could ask to keep them thinking or moving forward vs telling them and youâ€™ll gradually see progress. Youâ€™ve got this!


I chose to do an oldie. Krispy Kreme. I think this was the first ever 3act math task I did years ago. : ) I find that middle hump is always the hardest to overcome, especially when students don’t have the skills. I personally struggle when I notice a student disinterested or disengaged from the tasks while the rest of the group is full force ahead. Usually this student is barely able to keep up with the mental math. Question..considering the pantomime task, would you ever consider giving a student who seems to be struggling more than the group a calculator. I am trying to grabble myself with this decision as I feel with students especially at a higher grade (I teach grade 8) the gap and missing mental math strategies can overtake the whole question. Or are we better to have a minilesson on mental math adding. I have tried this a couple times to spend a good 5 minutes trying to build the student’s confidence with mental math getting them to review and work through strategies to realize by the time I am done the rest of the group has a strategy for the bigger idea of the math task.

I love this concept. I really feel like we are conditioning students to not think. Showing them the Hero’s journey and explaining in lots of different ways that the struggle is part of what makes a good learner.
I am using a 3 act math problem from our text about two people who are on the 7th floor of the building. One of them takes the elevator and one of them takes the stairs and the question to be answered is…who will reach the 1st floor first.
I am not a HUGE fan of this one because I feel like there is a trick…we didn’t know how long the elevator person got delayed. I get why, so there can be an intercept, but it felt like a trick.
When I have done this with my students they love to point out the variability of the elevator because you can have people get on at every floor and it would take even longer.

Here is my idea for comparing fraction, I will use it tomorrow (or I will forget!)

Love the idea of using a WYRâ€¦ wondering whatâ€™s the context? Is it brownies or is it poison ivy? Context is king!

It was a pie. As they came from snack time, we talked a bit about food and sharing food and who takes the biggest portion etc.
It went very well. Gave hints along the way, lots of “Ahhh!!!!” moments. I still did some “normal/typical” and kids wanted to practice some more before working out together the WDYR. We’ll start with that tomorrow.
Regarding the practice and the hinting I am looking forward to learning more about this!

let us know how it goes and what specifically youâ€™d like to continue working on. What worked well? What didnâ€™t? What specifically would you like to run more smoothly?




I took a problem from my school’s math curriculum, which is presented as just one question on a worksheet with 12 problems, including many word problems. I transformed the problem to become its own lesson. Some of the other problems on the worksheet could be used during the “additional practice” stage of the lesson.

fantastic to see! If there is one spot that youâ€™re feeling needs work or is unfinished, what part would it be?

I think making the video might be difficult and timeconsuming, but I thought of making a comic strip with blank thought bubbles (depicting the airport scenario). Students might be interested in guessing what they are talking about.
Before I run this lesson, I would also want to go through some expected mistakes and write out how I could respond to them to gear students toward the correct equation. I think algebra tiles would be so useful to have out for this lesson, so students could model 5(x+17) instead of the common mistake of 5x + 17.




Using a textbook math problem of “A car traveled 281 miles at 60 miles per hour. How long did it take to get to destination? (4 hours 41 minutes)
show video of people traveling different speeds on highway.
Show a map and ask students about traveling to various destination (how long, who drove, different speeds, different roads, etc)
Propose a trip that students want to take (such as their class trip to an amusement park).
Discuss how they would figure out how long it would take.
Give student a simple trip of 120 miles in 2 hours. Students work it out in pairs.
Share out answers and discuss.
Ask students to figure out a trip that is 180 miles in 3 hours.
Then 200. Students will get a decimal answer if dividing by average of 60 miles per hour. Let students talk about what that means in terms of time and what 3.333 is in terms of time.
This is where we have to break things down and let everyone know that it is okay to have a decimal answer that we can turn that decimal into minutes.
Give another example of how far away the class trip to amusement park is and that the bus can travel 60 miles per hour.

I used the work I did for Module 24 task to complete the hero’s journey. This is a grade 6 word problem.

Nice graph here @heidicheng . Have you considered staggering releasing out the information one piece at a time and having students update their predictions?


Thank you for this. It is so helpful to break down the stages of each lesson to help students experience the productive struggle.


I am adapting a lesson from Unit 5.1 from our SFUSD math curriculum. It is the entry task for the unit and deals with finding out the number of donuts. The Krispy Kreme 3 Act task listed for us reminded we already had one similar to it. I felt that it would be best to try and adapt something from our curriculum to show teachers that all we need to do is tweak what we have to make it a little better. I am attaching my picture of my template (but I am not confident it is working right). I ran out of room at the top to say this is where I would test to see if multiplying by powers of 10 would actually work for the final count after the forgotten order is included.

I used the R2D2 lesson. I’m thinking this could be useful as an intro to composite figures too.
I then was trying to apply all of this to a problem on multiplying integers from my textbook.

Awesome to hear! Practice makes it easier over time! Keep up the great work!


I thought about the Shark Bait 3 Act Task as I will be working with K2 next year as a math teacher. Providing manipulatives for the task is important as well as withholding the information to make sure they are curious about solving.

I really loved the pentomino activity presented in this lesson and could see how it followed the Hero’s Journey template. I look forward to using this with my students next year for sure. I am gathering ideas and trying to come up with a way to remember everything so I don’t forget things that I have learned and want to do myself. I am not sure I feel that confident coming up with placing my own problem on the Hero’s Journey template as I feel I second guess myself too much. Hoping that as we progress through the lessons that I will be able to figure out how to make my own completed template using something from our brand new curriculum. Wondering where to find the handout you had in the video that the students could explore with the different shapes and sums. I could not find it in this module’s materials.

We thought we had all resources in the materials tab. Can you maybe describe in a bit more detail what handout you’re looking for?


The Hero’s Journey template helped me to plan out a linear equation discovery lesson on “When will the Cell Phone be Charged?” Through estimating and the Noticing and Wondering opener, students would be building tension to figure out what they are going to be asked. Once given more information in the the form of several screenshots of a charging phone which includes % charged and time, students can start to see more information that can be useful. Students reach the top of the tension curve when they can use their algebra skills and the Desmos graphing tool to help figure out the answer. This form of buildup leads to engagement of the students.

Nicely done here! Thanks for sharing your progress.
Any questions that are still on your mind?


I am going to use the Planting Flowers lesson in MMM to teach and work on 2step equations. I actually am thinking about the Hero’s lesson in relation to the first activity, the sunflower problem. The lower part of the grid is the Notice and Wonder about the sunflower growing, I was thinking though of changing it slightly to ask questions along the way of “Predict: At what week will the sunflower be 20 inches?” and then for 28 inches and then for 42 inches (which will be a partial week answer). My hope is that students will use a double number line, number line, chart, or diagram to solve this and then we can talk about how to write an algebraic rule for it (similar to the Pentomino Activity), which would be the climax or peak of the activity (Hero’s chart). We would then use that equation to solve “when will it reach its maximum height?”.

I first found this lesson on a website called Mathalicious many years ago. I sometimes start our linear equation unit with this lesson as an anchor while other years a make it at the end of the unit. Since its inception, many other websites have adapted it in a myriad of ways including Desmos.
