In this video, Mallory Williamson works with her students in a Three-Act Task, in which her students gradually receive additional information related to calculating the number of sugar cubes in a rectangular box.
In the lesson’s first “act,” Mallory’s students first encounter a brief video of hands turning over a sugar cube box, showing the various sides, and she asks them what questions could be asked of this scenario. She then asks them to work collaboratively in groups to generate estimates of the number of cubes in the box. In act two, she introduces additional information, which is to open the box of cubes and reveal how many are on one face of the multilayered cube arrangement. The students then work together to refine and critique their original estimates. Lastly, in the third act, students generate a model that they believe represents the number of cubes and defend their reasoning to the other students.
By watching this lesson, teachers will learn how to engage students in understanding real-world scenarios represented by the traditional method of multiplying length times width times height.
Mallory has been teaching 5th grade for the entirety of her ten years in teaching, the majority of them at the same elementary school in Polk County, Florida.