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5th Grade Math - Calculating Volume of Rectangular Prisms

Clip 6/13: Calculating Volume of Rectangular Prisms Lesson Part 1E


Mallory pauses her students’ table group discussions, asking “What were some observations that you made?” Students share some observations: “There are three by six.” Mallory asks for nonverbal thumbs-up to gauge that the majority of the classroom shared that observation. She then asks, “Is this the top of the box? Is there anything behind it? The answer to that is yes and yes.” She asks them to return to their discussions briefly, and then report out their revised estimates to see how they have changed.

Teacher Commentary

I really appreciate the wonder and the art of presenting things with questioning. It’s a really big part of my philosophy, because it changes the dynamic of how they think about things. It's not just math as a subject; it's an opportunity to build on something. Math is like an ongoing, ever-building, ever-growing subject. When you present it like an “academic thing,” it loses its magic. 
You'll very rarely hear me speak in whole-group style for a long period of time. And if it is, it's short snippets, and then I release them to discover it, and then we have discussions about it. I don't tell them “right” or “wrong.” I have some kids interject with some thoughts and then I release them again. There are a lot of parts that are broken up, as it's all about discovery and questioning.

Materials & Artifacts