Saturday, February 12, 2011

Three Part Lesson: Sorting Figures (3-D Solids)

This is the 3-part lesson we observed in Iain's classroom.  

Prior learning:
This was one of the first lessons in the Geometry unit.  It was a diagnostic task.

Combined Grade Note:
Both grades completed this lesson.

Learning Goal:
Iain's goal of the lesson was to find out his students prior knowledge of geometric properties.

Part 1: Getting Started:
Iain showed the whole class some 3-D figures and asked them to share what they knew about them.  

Part 2: Working on It
Iain introduced the problem to the whole class.  Students read through it in pairs.  

Iain also went through the criteria for a good response.

The routine in Iain's classroom is that students can choose to work alone or in pairs.  

Here are some student responses:

Part 3: Reflecting and Connecting (Consolidation)
Rather than a traditional congress with 2 or 3 pairs sharing in front of the whole group, Iain asked students to form small groups.  Students had to share with each other within each small group. Then each small group presented to the whole class what they found out.

* If you find that your students are very quiet during a math congress, you might want to take a step back and try this method.  Every participates!

Part 3: Explicit Teaching
After students had a chance to share what they found out, Iain moved on to the explicit teaching part of the lesson.  This allowed him to clear up any misconceptions and take the lesson to where he wanted.

Iain and the class discussed how they would sort Alana's figures.  This is what they came up with.  The idea of sorting by two properties was made explicit with the Venn diagram.

Part 4: Practice
Iain always plans for a part 4 in his lessons (He calls them 4-part lessons).  This practice piece usually involve questions from the core textbook or a small investigation.

This particular investigation was taken from Nelson Grade 4, page 295.  Students used polydrons (nets) to investigate the relationship of the numbers of edges, vertices, faces on pyramids and prisms.

Iain consolidated this portion of the lesson with this chart:

One of the things to keep in mind when using the 3-part lesson format is that you're not stuck within these three parts.  You can go in and out of each part as you need to.  Iain's lesson is a great lesson of that!

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