Live crabs in Vending Machines?

**No, not THOSE crabs**

Of the many projects I have worked on this year as part of my Math For America Teacher-In-Residency, the most exciting and fulfilling has been coaching my middle school’s math department.  I use the word ‘coaching’ loosely as I really see us all as collaborating together, learning from one another.  I just find the grant money so we can be paid.

We have dabbled in all sorts of foci this year, but lately we have been spending most of our time learning from each other as we try out more of the Shell Foundation’s formative assessment lessons (FALS).  Our big focus is always on student’s engagement with the mathematics.  Our more serious conversations focus on our successes (and sometimes utter failures) facilitating small groups work and subsequent whole class discussions.

BUT..the fun is had when we talk about the initial hook–how to overcome the drama of the passing period and the sweat induced lunchtime basketball games.  In my last post I shared a video that the five of us made to introduce the Sharing Gasoline FAL.

Robert MacCarthy found this gem about Chinese vending machines which disperse live crabs.

He used it to introduce a 6th grade lesson on using coordinate graphing to analyze data.  Students work in groups, using this graphvending machine photo

to analyze these cards:vending machine cards

Some students have the ‘Monday’ data which is above.  Others have a different set of ‘Tuesday’ data.  Once groups finish their cards, they exchange cards with a group who had a different day’s data from them and their new task is to construct the graph using the other group’s cards.

This lesson isn’t published yet, but you can try out the draft version if you like.  If you do, let me know your thoughts.


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