Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Community Discussion › Curious Task Tool Talk › Shovelling the Driveway [Day 1]

Shovelling the Driveway [Day 1]
Posted by Kyle Pearce on February 20, 2021 at 8:45 amHow do you plan to use this task?
After reviewing the Teacher Guide, do you still have any wonders or worries?
Once youâ€™ve used the task, be sure to share what modifications you made either before or during the task and what you might do differently next time.
Marion Mulgrew replied 4 weeks ago 5 Members · 7 Replies 
7 Replies

First of all, this task has been amazing. I used it to introduce this concept. The visual of shoveling the driveway is great. Although I may not go through the entire unit, we have made it to the second day. My one concern right now is that many of the kids are not seeing the second fraction in the models. For example, once we show 1/3 of the remaining snow shoveled the second time and split the 3/4 into thirds, having the smaller parts now showing confused them as to where the thirds are located. I don’t know if I made any sense with that. I think the idea of labeling it like a number line might help a little. I’ll try that in my next lesson.

Glad youâ€™re enjoying this one!
This is a REALLY complex idea and it takes a lot of careful planning to facilitate these lessons in a way that are clear and concise while not robbing students of their thinking.
Being cautious to use language that references the fraction of the whole or fraction of the remaining part of the driveway is key.
When you shovel a part, then ask for a fraction of the remaining snow covered driveway, this is where the multiplication is â€śhappeningâ€ť. Be sure to check out the silent solution animations in the guide to help you prepare and keep us posted here đź™‚


I tried this yesterday with my Algebra Readiness 6th and 7th grade classes. It did not go well. The students just really could not grasp what the question was asking. They kept going back to the 1/3 for the second shoveling and the 2/3 of that portion is left not shoveled. After letting them work for a while and questioning their thinking..trying to get them to understand I had them draw the area rectangle showing the 1/4 that was shoveled first. Then I drew attention to the portion of the driveway that was not shoveled. Students could understand that 3/4 of the driveway was not shoveled. But getting that 1/3 or the 3/4 that was not shoveled did not go anywhere. I know in 6th grade they drew models for fraction multiplication when learning about fraction multiplication but not one of the students went there. Not even my 6th graders that actually have done that recently in their math class.
My question is what do you do when none of the groups is on a real track to solving the problem. One group drew a picture of the fourths and then a second picture of thirds. But they could not see any connection. I thought I was asking good questions to get them to think about strategies. When nothing I was asking was going anywhere I asked what it would look like if they drew the fourths picture and the thirds picture on the same rectangle. What they ended up doing was not even close they just kinda smooshed them together.
My classes are made of struggling students. Some love trying things and have a positive attitude and others are more negative and just want to goof off. I know doing the tasks will be great for them once they start meeting with success.
I wanted to use them to intro the concepts before I reteach them. Since it is the second semester most of the concepts I cover they were taught in their regular math class earlier this year. But maybe I should look at using lower grade tasks that may or may not be what we are learning. Any task that helps them learn how to struggle through is great. But if their struggle is not getting them anywhere near understanding how to solve a task I feel I might be reinforcing their negative ideas on math.
Suggestions greatly appreciated.

Hi Mary!
I wonder if this task/unit was a helpful task for students or whether it was too far beyond their level of readiness at the time?
For example, when 1/4 of the driveway was shovelled, you mentioned that they were struggling to grasp the concept that 3/4 was not shovelled. This leads me to wonder whether students have a firm enough understanding of how to represent fractions in general prior to digging into fractions operations and more specifically, multiplication of fractions.
What do you think?

I know this is late, but have you considered showing 4ths one direction, then cutting the “driveway” into 3rds the other direction and then discussing how many pieces the drive way is at that point? Then what happened to the 1/4? Then how many are left and can you get a third of that?



I am excited to use this…fyi, sathe link for Day 2 leads to a notice that says the link does not work.

Hi My Friend!
Thanks for bringing that to our attention. Give it a shot now, the problem has been fixed! đź™‚
Kyle
