Thursday, September 29, 2016

Million Dollar Math

In fourth grade, students are taught how to multiply multi-digit numbers using a variety of strategies – place value model, partial products method and the area model.  Usually it is lots of practice of solving equation after equation- sometimes a little boring.  To spice it up, I created trips that I would pretend to take with my students during track out.  First, I told my students that I had won the lottery and was the luckiest person in the world.  They knew from previous place value that I had a million dollars (“7” digits in the number.  We took a trip to Disney World, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho, Busch Gardens, and Space Camp in Houston, Texas.  Each lesson, we found the websites for purchasing entry tickets, found the distance from Holly Springs, NC using Google maps, YouTube videos and plane ticket prices.  We found that when we were purchasing tickets for Disney and Busch Gardens, we had to pay attention to the ages of the students because the ticket prices change when students turn ten years old.  I found that as we were completing the lessons that the students were very engaged. At the beginning of my class, the students were asking, “Where are we going to today Mrs. Stewart?”  As we were solving math problems for each trip, we also were reviewing other math objectives.  The students knew how much money I had left to spend at the end of each lesson. 

Here’s what some of the students had to say:

“I liked that I got to multiply three-digit by one-digit numbers in a fun way”.  –Bryce

“I thought it was cool that we acted like we were really going somewhere and planning a trip to Disney!” –Ally

“I can use this when I grow up and want to take my family on a trip.” -Adlee

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