Musings and Strategies From the Teachers Next Door

The Wizard of Oz

3 Act Task

CCGPS1.NBT.1-6, Standards of Mathematical Practice 1-8

ACT 1:

Ask Students:  What do you notice from the video?  Write down students’ observations.

What do you wonder?  Write down responses.

Ideally, you want to guide your students into identifying the problem themselves.  Make sure you validate ALL responses, no matter how silly they seem to you.  We like to write all responses down, on the board, on chart paper, it doesn’t matter where, it just matters that all students feel heard.  For true learning to take place, students must feel safe which means they are free to take risks, free to fail, and free to share.  The beauty of beginning a task this way is that every student has noticed something, which means ALL students have an entry point into the discussion.  All good tasks begin with an entry point for ALL students, not just a few.

Possible questions:  (Be prepared to have students ask ridiculous questions!   Acknowledge and validate all questions, but suggest that we put some questions in a parking lot since we can’t figure out those answers from the clip….and some would require speaking to the Tin Man himself 🙂 )

  • How much oil does it take to limber up the Tin Man?
  • Why are they using oil?
  • Where are they putting the oil?
  • How many squirts did they use? *** (This is the question on which we chose to focus.)
  • How many joints he have?

Have students make an estimate of how many squirts of oil Dorothy and the Scarecrow will use on the Tin Man.  Have them make an estimate that they know is too low and another that they know is too high.  Place these numbers on a number line.  Then have students estimate where they think the actual number of squirts would be on the number and discuss the reasonableness of their answers (SMP 6).

Act 2:


Give the students this picture, or pull this up on your interactive white board and ask, “How many joints are there on the Tin Man?” We came up with 14, but don’t feel like you are limited.  This is a great way to differentiate based on your class.  You could get very detailed and include finger joints, or you could keep it to 10 and only deal with multiples of 10.

Now you need to decide how many squirts you heard on the video for each joint.  At times, we heard 2 and other times we heard 3 squirts per joint.  Have your students decide what they heard and be ok with different groups having different estimates for the number of squirts per joint.

Ask:  Now that you know how many squirts Dorothy and the Scarecrow used on each joint and the number of joints the Tin Man has, figure out how many squirts they used on the Tin Man?

Act 3:

This is the reveal.  DO NOT SKIP IT!!! No matter how little time you think you have, do not skip this step!  This is where the real learning begins.  Have students share their answers and their thought process (how they got their answer).  Using your teacher superpowers, help students evaluate their work, learn from their mistakes, and critique the work of others. (SMP 3)

One idea we have found helpful is to post students’ work around the room and allow time to comment together – what we like, how we could improve our answer, and finally compare our work with others.


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