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Lesson 44: Sparking Curiosity & Fuelling Sense Making With Additive Thinking – Discussion
Posted by Kyle Pearce on December 6, 2019 at 6:11 amFind or create a context that you could use to elicit one or more of the addition and subtraction structures explored in this module. How might you craft this lesson to ensure it is problem based?
Share your reflection below along with any wonders you still have.
Kyle Pearce replied 1 year ago 18 Members · 31 Replies 
31 Replies

I was thinking you could change the task to include fractions to work on rationals. I like how you sparked curiosity, but I was most impressed with the models that show the balance. What a great way to introduce one step equations. Included a link of a keynote adapting your and Graham’s activities, by put fractions in it and then adapted it to your math is visual site to also extend the activity into 2 step equations. This allows you to take one task and use it for multiple big ideas. This is just a thought as I reflected on this lesson. I attached the keynote in the link below
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kzdka25xyhf9w6x/Equations%20intro%20with%20rationals.key?dl=0
 This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Shawn Hershey.
 This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Shawn Hershey.

Love how you’re viewing these lesson examples as ideas to apply to other concepts you might teach. Can’t wait to check out the deck!

I love the cookie monster task. I think this will be a good starting activity to do with my middle schoolers– 1 to demonstrate/experience a 3act math task, 2 because it’s dealing with addition and subtraction, students will view it as a lowrisk task because they feel more confident with adding and subtracting, and 3 to have students use multiple models to share and explain their thinking.

Agreed! The beauty is we can also build on that context to have students thinking using the other subtraction structures (take away, comparison, missing addend, etc.)

I made a google Slides of the Cookie Monster tasks to encourage my Grade 1 teachers to do the task. They loved it and said the kids were fully engaged.
I plan to prep the egg one for my KG teachers. Even while we are teaching online, I can help them pull this off. I will totally offer to take the lead on it.


I like both of the examples with the eggs and cookies. Great use of Notice & Wonder. A couple of weeks ago I used the gummy bear one with fourth graders and it went really well. We are still working on coming up with good noticings and wonderings though.

Ah – just be cautious – we never want to be evaluative of the noticing and wonderings students bring forward. It is one thing to encourage students to share more noticing and wondering, but we don’t want to have students thinking that something they shared wasn’t valued by the class or the teacher. This is something that took me a really long time to work through and it actually held my class back from truly opening up and starting some great conversations.


These lessons engage students on multiple levels of cognitive learning strategies and in particular this lesson engaged in the “new” area of discovery for me–dualcoding which simply means engaging multiple senses particularly visual with verbal and video with audio. Here is a link to these cognitive strategies if anyone is interested. https://lovetoteach87.com/2019/05/02/examplesofdualcodingintheclassroom/ The videos from Kyle’s “Tap Into Teens” as well as Dan Meyer’s and Graham Fletcher are all wonderful lesson examples which as a former k5 math curriculum coordinator, I would include in various grade level math talks for problem solving. All this information is reaffirming and renewing.

The idea of “dual coding” is fascinating! For quite some time I’ve been doing that, but without any real reason other than thinking it was “helpful” for kids. It’s nice if we can be able to turn to research to reaffirm some of what we do.


I enjoyed the tasks that were present and would like to apply the concepts towards fractions as I often find that unit very challenging for students.
Can’t wait to add more notice and wonder to my math courses this year.

Any thoughts currently in mind on how you might do this for fractions?


While watching this module, i thought about the problem I proposed in the previous module about system of equations problem. The problem I had was comparing two students salaries. Tim earned $15 an hour and Kate earned $12 an hour after getting $100 bonus. The question was when do earn the same amount. However, I could change it to candy in a jar. Then students could break it candy and use it to create groups and solve the problem with the visual model. Then we can bring this question to a real life situation.

I like the activities with “I Notice and Wonder.” These activities allow students to think freely without any right or wrong answers, at the same time it gives teachers a peek into their thinking. The activity with gummy worms is a great way to start with notice and wonder and then leading students through different models to solve for different questions.

I can think of several contexts — using video and the structure of 3Act Tasks.
This adds some suspense or mystery into the situation, which will be engaging for students. I collaborated on a fraction task using a Cadbury chocolate bar. A colleague made it into a video with his daughters at home, One daughter sneaks into the kitchen and breaks off a chuck of the chocolate bar. Then the younger daughter comes in and does the same. How much is left for Dad when he gets a craving for chocolate and wanders into kitchen?
I think these type of problems work well because there is an action and students can represent that action when they use a model or representation, or when they talk through the symbolic notation they use to represent the situation.
Thanks for making good use of Notice and Wonder and 3Act task format.

We want our students to be precise in translating word problems into number sentences, models, or representations that corresponds with the structuring of the problem.

It sounds like I’m hearing this idea of flexibility with number emerging through this post. Nice work.


I love the connection to algebra and algebraic thinking. To help students see the equation as a balance and to be able to visualize the answer would make it simpler to transition to the thinking that is necessary later on and it would make solving equations more understandable rather than an algorithm that they repeat put don’t really understand. To start a review of solving onestep equations in 8th grade and give it some meaning by showing the active subtraction makes total sense.
John has 15 marbles
His friend wins some of his marbles in a game
John now has 8 marbles
How many marbles did his friend win.
Solve this problem in several ways.

Glad this resonated with you! As you can probably tell, we are all about keeping that floor low as we inch up the complexity of the thinking. We find this can keep access for more students and ensure a more equitable experience for all!


I could bring my husbands change jar to class. Students could estimate how much is in it. The estimates could be put on a number line. The money could be counted and returned to the jar. a scoop of money could be removed and counted. How much is left in the money jar. This would bring decimals in. My husband suggested that one could use weight as in estimating its weight, removing some and weighing what was removed… One might even be able to relate weight and value.

The photo I attached does not seem to be showing.


I would show the gummy worm activity. Then have them come up with as many different ways as they can to show how to solve the problem. Then have them create their own version to show the class. Maybe have them take pictures or a short video with their phone.

I was thinking about homemade shoe deodorant with equal parts rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. I have an 8 oz spray bottle. If I use 3 oz of rubbing alcohol, how much apple cider vinegar would I need and how much room will be left in the bottle?
If I wanted to use fractional parts I could state that the bottle was a cup size. Could I use 2/3 a cup of rubbing alcohol? Why or why not?

This is great. What models do you envision using as a tool for thinking?

I am not sure. Fraction pieces, I have ones that are a rectangular area model. I also thought about a number line or maybe a double number line if we connect the fractional idea to the fact we can not use fractions if we use fluid ounces. Students seem to think it is grand to find nonfractional ways to do math problems.



Loved the cookie monster video. Made me chuckle. I can just imagine the students’ comments. I also liked the added multiplication element that is possible when calculating the number of cookies originally. 🙂
A person could also bring fractions into it…wondering what fraction of the cookies have been eaten…
As to creating a problem. I might take the new fundraiser in our school as a context (Popcorn Tuesdays), having the students calculate the number of bags of popcorn were delivered to a certain class knowing that 45 bags were popped originally and there were 24 left next to the machine. Or to spice it up, because many in my class would find that too easy, I would perhaps make it an openended question where they would need to propose several possibilities (or all) if that certain number was actually how many were delivered to two different classrooms. The question would be how many could have been delivered to each classroom? I might also ask them to pick their favourite possiblilty and state why they think this is the most probable.

Loving this! It is always a nice bonus when the context is from the lives of the students like your school fundraiser!


I feel like Notice and Wonder and 3Act Tasks have brought a culture of thinking into my classroom. I love when students will use “notice” and “wonder” with other math problems.
I have a Notice and Wonder planned with an image of a reflection next Monday, but the beauty of the ones you showed is the element of mystery you introduce. The Cookie Monster is fantastic. I am going to try to think if I can switch it around to add some surprise or a little bit of a story.

The jar of gummy worms made me think about this task https://www.map.mathshell.org/download.php?fileid=1702 with the jellybeans. Maybe wipe away the measurements of the jar. Bring in a jar to model this. Questions like: “How many are yellow?, How many are green? If we eat all the yellow and green, how many are left?”

Lots of great tasks on the Shell site and I also like your modifications to build more curiosity. Nice work.
