My first 3-Act Task and “real” blog post…

With a push from my good friend and fellow Math Coach, Dr. Brian Lack,  I have decided to create a blog in hopes of sharing effective  teaching strategies in mathematics and to learn from others, because you CAN teach old-dogs new tricks…

This particular 3 act task came from my son, Titus as we were sitting at a red light.  He kept asking me to grab some of the coins in the cup that I keep in my car at random, so he could tell me how much was in my hand.  As we drove home I began to wonder how to use this with the classes that come to my Math Lab.

I then created a flipchart, and I tried it out with one of my 5th grade classes. You can see results from the students after ACT 3 below….

Dad’s Coin Cup



Watch the video:

  1. What do you wonder?  What did you notice?  What questions do you have? (lead to main question “how much is in the cup?”)

Watch the second video….

 1.  Based on what you see, use a number line and make a low estimate and then a high estimate.number-line

2. Using your low and high estimates, make an estimate that you feel is reasonable.


What information would help you with this problem?

Show video:


Reveal the answer:


  1. What do you wonder?
  2. What computation did you use to find your answer?
  3. How did you know where the decimal belonged? (my favorite part! it amazes me that students have no issues with decimals when dealing with money, but once the $ is removed they lose all sense *pun intended)

Work from act 1a, then act 2, and our wrap up:


Examples of 3-Act tasks you can do in your classroom. #elemmathchat #mathchat Click To Tweet

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