#75 FACTS - Week 3 - Chapter 3

Okay.  I tried.  I've been "attending" the twitter chat on #75 Math Facts, but I can't do it anymore.  Not that I don't want to, but staying up that late has been messing with my whole week.

So, in an effort to stay in the loop, I will blog about my thoughts rather than participate in the chat :(

I tried out Human Scatter Plot (p 104 # 22) this week and thought I would speak about how it relates to chapter 3.
The Human Scatter Plot is where students are given a multiple choice question and asked to stand somewhere in the room according to their answer and confidence in their answer.  I placed tape on my classroom floor to create 4 lines.  One each for the answer choices A, B, C, D.  If the students were confident in their answer, they were to stand on the line but closer to the door, if they were less confident, they were to stand farther away from the door.  I had 10 questions ready for the lesson but that was more than enough.

Chapter Three: Considerations for Selecting, Implementing and Using Data From FACTs.

Eight Standards for Mathematical Practices

I felt this FACT was closely tied to Mathematical Practice #3:  Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning on of others.  Once the students were standing where they wanted to be I asked them to explain to the rest of the class their reasoning.  It was very interesting to see what was going on in their minds.  I liked when the class was split between two answers and students were jumping out of their skin to explain why their reasoning was correct.  

Facts and Teaching Goals

My goal for this lesson was for students to get better at solving literal equations.  This was the second day of the lesson and I felt they were mostly okay to do some problems on their own.  I wasn't sure if their mistakes would be in the order of operations (SADMEP or SMEG if you will), or somewhere else in their reasoning.  I selected this FACT so I could watch as they walked to their answer.  Who got there first?  Did anyone follow someone else?  How confident is each student in their answer?  Did students get more confident as the class progressed?  What incorrect answers are they selecting?

I also learned who was not only able to solve literal equations but was also confident.  I used this information in the next class to select the students who could coach other students.  I have to admit, it wasn't the usual students who knew what they were doing.  It showed some other students who normally aren't in the spotlight to shine through.  

Planning to Use and Implement Facts

One of the reasons I selected this FACT was because it got the students up and moving.  I started class by telling the students that I have never done this before and it was be a huge success or a complete failure, but I was counting on them to be honest with me about their thoughts.  

Small Steps

Were your students engaged?  Oh yeah, they were definitely engaged.  Every student was completing every problem.

Were you confident and excited about using the FACT?  Yes, I usually look forward to my day when we try something new.

How did use of the FACT affect the student-to-student or student-teacher dynamic?  The students relied on each other to determine if they were correct or not.  I found students discussing a solution before they would go stand somewhere.  If students were sitting at their desks completing problems, they rarely discuss it with their neighbors.  I think this activity encouraged discussion because their answers were visible to everyone.

Was the information gained from the FACT useful to you?  Yes, you can read about that above.

Would you have gotten the same information without using the FACT?  Yes, but not as quickly or easily.

What added value did the FACT bring to teaching and learning?  First, excitement over something new.  Second, the students learned the material faster than going at it alone.  

Did using the FACT cause you to do something differently or think differently about teaching and learning?    The information that I gathered from the FACT inspired the next lesson.  I wouldn't have had this information if I didn't use a Formative Assessment.

Would you use this FACT again?  Yes.

Are there modifications you could make to this FACT to improve its usefulness?  I like the activity the way it is.  However, if I want to do something similar that doesn't require too much time, I may have a warm-up question were the students will place their initials on a poster, teach the lesson, then have the student do the same problem, initial the same poster at the end of the class in a different color.  This way the students can see how their knowledge or confidence changed throughout the lesson.

Using Data from FACTs

The information I gained from using this FACT motivated the next lesson.  I knew who was knowledgeable and confident, those students coached other.  I also included more problems like the ones that the students were struggling with during the FACT.  


  1. I really like your modification idea for a quick use of the activity without the need for tape or prep. I especially like that the students must reflect on their own knowledge. AS a teacher you get the benefit of seeing the connection between what you taught and what they learned ; )

  2. Did they solve all the problems first and then go through the activity, or did they work each one out as they went? Were the problems "easy" enough to work out in their mind or did they have to do some work on paper as well?

    1. I had them solve the problems as they went through the activity. Some problems were easy enough to do in their head (Solve for x: x + y = z) others were more complicated that they needed to work them out on paper (Solve for g: rg - bh = w).


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