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ERIC Number: EJ1157178
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Trying Three-Act Tasks with Primary Students
Lomax, Kendra; Alfonzo, Kristin; Dietz, Sarah; Kleyman, Ellen; Kazemi, Elham
Teaching Children Mathematics, v24 n2 p112-119 Oct 2017
The goals of problem-solving activities in the elementary grades often include making sense of story problems, developing a range of strategies, and reaching accurate solutions. These are important mathematical aims, but they do not fully address the demands of modeling with mathematics as described in the fourth of the Common Core's eight Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP 4) (CCSSI 2010, pp. 6-8). Modeling with mathematics also involves identifying mathematical problems in the world, gathering information and determining which details will help solve a problem, and developing and revising mathematical models of situations. For young children, such models might include diagrams, equations, and using manipulatives to represent the quantities and mathematical relationships in a given situation. After investigating various approaches and activities, this group of teachers, coaches, and teacher educators from various school settings in the Seattle area discovered an exciting problem solving activity structure specifically designed to engage students in mathematical modeling: Three-Act Tasks (Meyer 2011) designed by Dan Meyer for use in secondary classrooms and adapted by Graham Fletcher and other educators for elementary school classrooms (Fletcher 2016). The activity structure comprises three parts or "acts." This article provides a summary of a three-act lesson. Originally designed for secondary mathematics students, this group of educators found the three act approach to be productive for even the youngest learners and invites readers to tap into elementary students' intuitive ability to make sense of problems in a new way that presents entry points for all learners.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington (Seattle)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A