History & Math, A Problem-solving Connection

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Essential Questions for students (objectives):  How do certain practices (or habits) help problem-solvers?

Time needed:  1-2 class periods (50 minutes each)

Supplies: Help Wanted at Mount Vernon by Young and Morgan, Journal page, computer access for student groups, Be a Tour Guide handout
Common Core Standards:  8 mathematical practices
Instructional Format:  Teacher-led reading, discussion, student journal writing, cooperative groups, student presentations

Vocabulary for a Word Wall:  Difficult words from the 8 practices – depending on the age of students, such as quantitatively, conjecture, etc.
Step by step lesson description:

1)       Show Introduction video.

2)      Read Help Wanted at Mount Vernon by Young and Morgan.  Stop after reading page 11.   Ask students to brainstorm solutions on their journal page.  (You can copy a journal page for each stopping point , or students can focus on 1 stopping point and fill out a page for that particular one)  Students can either draw a picture of their idea in the call-out bubbles, or write out their ideas.

3)      Read pages 12 & 13.  Have students fill out the journal page describing George Washington’s solution.  Allow the students to fill out the “I notice,” and the “I wonder” call-out boxes on the journal page.  Students get a chance to develop their own questions and related thoughts that they could eventually research on their own.  For example:  What other famous homes in England use a ha-ha wall?  How do you build a wall on a slope without it collapsing while it is being built?

4)      Ask students to review the 8 mathematical practices.  Have the students discuss and decide which practice was primarily used by George Washington to solve this particular conundrum.

5)      Continue steps 2-4 above stopping at page 16, page 23, and page 29.

6)      Students choose one of the 8 practices and show how one of the solutions/inventions that George Washington used illustrates at least 3 bullets of the practice.  Students share responses in a museum walk, carousel walk, or in a jigsaw format.

7)      In groups, students write the script for an 8 mathematical practice tour of Mount Vernon.  Students choose 2 practices to show where they are illustrated on the Mount Vernon grounds.  For a virtual tour of Mount Vernon:  http://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/mansion-virtual-tour/    Use the Be a Tour Guide handout for directions.  The handout has a rubric to assess the presentations.  *Students can give presentations in small groups and assess one another rather than have each group present to the class.

Assessment (Acceptable Evidence):  Rubric on the Be a Tour guide handout and/or written script.

Additional connections:  For lessons and instructional resources on teaching the 8 mathematical practices, click The 8 Mathematical Practices - Grades K-5 or The 8 Mathematical Practices - Grades 6-12.