Planned to do a review of multiplying and dividing fractions with my 7th graders. I knew that they probably needed the review, but I also knew their eyes would glaze over if I threw up some plain old problems on the board to have them solve.
So I found a picture of a Hershy's bar...Not quite ready to let them loose on the picture alone, I gave them the following prompt.
You have 3/4 of your candy bar left when your sister steals 2/9 of it! How many rectangles did she take?
I gave them 5 min to work alone, 5 to work together and the we shared out. They gave me multiple ways of finding how much 3/4 of the candy was in rectangles, then found multiple ways of finding how many pieces 2/9 was including multiplying 3/4 x 2/9 which was the original plain old problem in the book! Then they had to prove that 1/6 was two pieces without the picture. It was soooo cool! They were 100% engaged and talking math like little mathematicians! We spent the whole class doing fraction problems based on the candy bar including division problems that they made up. I was in heaven.
That was my "high" class. I thought why not give it to my low group and see how it goes.... SO freaking glad I did! They needed a little more redirection and nudging to the right direction but yet again they really spent most of their time working on the math! And invested in the problem/solution.
I almost didn't post this because I think its kind of a "Well duhhhh" observation, but it was really powerful to me to see this in action and how great both classes responded to it. My goal now is to make sure 80% of my lessons are like this. I want 100% but I need to be realistic.