Showing posts from July, 2016

Spatial Structuring: a Public Service Announcement

I'm knee deep in writing an article about an area lesson I taught to rising 4th graders in summer school a couple weeks ago and, as usual, something totally unexpected and profound has emerged as I take a closer look at student work. I wanted to do a quick post today as a shout-out to the importance of spatial structuring for students who are being asked to think about multiplication in terms of arrays and area.

In the lesson, students were given two tasks related to area. The first task was to find different rectangles with an area of 12 square units, where students were given 12 square units to build their rectangles and then asked to draw pictorial representations on a square grid. The second task was to determine the area of a table given only enough square units for two side lengths and to draw a representation of their thinking on a blank sheet of paper (for an amazing read on the power of a blank sheet of paper, check out Tracy Zager's blog). There was a startling corre…