## Wednesday, April 22, 2015

### The Fact Platter Gets a Makeover

I like to cut things apart.  Game boards, worksheets, problem-solving tasks; nothing is safe.  The latest activity to fall victim to my scissors was the unsuspecting Fact Platter.

 I found some first graders in Jen's class working on this at a center one morning.

Now I've seen this activity many times before.  But that day, as the kids were filling out the Fact Platter, I happened to look up at Jen's desk.  I saw a pair of scissors, and a light bulb went on.  What if...

 ...you cut the platter apart...

 ...and put it back together like a puzzle?

I tried this out with a kid and liked the results.  It required more thought than simply filling in the sums.  I called Jen over, and we started experimenting with ways to differentiate the task.

 Here's a version with just the outer ring of sums cut out.

 Jen had the idea to cut out the inner ring.  Here the kids needed to find the missing addend.

As a challenge, I took two platters, cut them both apart, and mixed them up.

 It took two kids about 10 minutes to put them back together.

 They had to make sure that each one had the digits 0-9 in the inner ring.

 It required quite a bit of cooperation.  When they were finished, Jen put the pieces in envelopes to use at a center.
So the next time your kids are working on an activity, and it seems a little drab, reach for one of my favorite teaching tools and give it a makeover:

 It just may do the trick!

1. Love this! Great reinforcement of the relationship between addition and subtraction, and is easily adaptable for multiplication and division. I wonder how this activity would work with decimals or fractions.

1. Thanks! Yes, this activity is easily adaptable, and it's a good idea to try it with decimals and fractions. If you try it out let me know how it works.

2. Great post - turn a practice activity into a thinking activity! Love it.

1. Thanks for the comment. "Fact practice" and "thinking" can be combined in creative ways that can be more engaging for kids.

3. This may be one of my favorite posts yet Joe. Simple and powerful. I definitely need to do a better job embracing the art of the sheers.
You have it pruned down to an art.

1. Very punny, Graham! I'm sure you can do lots of damage with the scissors too. Let me know what you come up with.

4. You two are such cut-ups. You keep me in stitches.

5. Love this, Joe! I made one for fraction addition, with 1/2 in the center. I used simple fractions in the inner ring (some smaller than half, some larger than half). I cut the inner ring apart to make it a missing addend task like the one you showed. What I love about this is that students can actually use estimation to sort the addends that will generate a sum of less than one from those that will make a sum greater than 1, as a sense-making strategy to help them complete the puzzle.

Thanks for the continuous inspiration!

1. Thanks Brian. What a great idea. I would like to try this with our fifth graders and see what they make of it. It's amazing how a simple activity designed for first graders to practice basic addition facts can scale up to include higher grades and more complex skills.

6. Great post Joe! Such a simple idea that offers so much more just be making it over slightly. I will give it a shout out on my Facebook page "Making over maths" if you don't mind?