Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pasta Parentheses and a Freebie!

As the holidays are approaching, I am finding it more difficult to engage my kiddos and keep them focused on these last full days!  I love, love, love completing seasonal activities, but I also have so much I have to REALLY teach before we get our for Christmas break.

This week, we learned our third property of multiplication: The Associative Property.  My students have been doing a great job identifying the commutative property as well as the distributive property, so I was excited to give this new lesson plan a try!

We began with an interactive PowerPoint and some counters to help students SEE how changing the grouping of factors does not affect the product in multiplication.  The kids looked at the lesson as a puzzle, and seemed to be amazed when the product came out to be the same even through the factors they multiplied were different.  After some practice on our dry erase boards, I gave students an interactive activity where they were challenged to group factors in two different ways using elbow pasta as parentheses. They were over the moon to use these manipulatives as 3D parentheses, and I was able to see who was grasping the concept and who needed a little more intervention.

To reinforce the concepts of the Associative Property, I created task cards for my students to solve in groups.  The task cards had students solve using the associative property, using parentheses to group factors differently, multiple choice, word problems using the property, and constructed response questions.  My students love the Kagan strategy, Showdown.  I love it too because it promotes cooperative learning, questioning and explanation strategies, and my students absolutely love praising and coaching one another :)  Here are some pictures of my kiddos in action...

Click on the picture below to check out my Associative Property Lesson Plan and Resource Pack!

Now...as promised, a freebie!  Click here to grab my Matching Mittens Variable Center.  I hope everyone has a great, calm last few days!


  1. Awesome activity! Love that you used the pasta as a manipulative. Love how the smallest things can be used to make a lesson engaging and interactive! I'm sure your students loved it!

  2. Cute blog. The TPT forum connected us. Looking forward to sharing ideas! :)

  3. Thank you both for the support! I am now following both of you and am looking forward to connecting our classrooms :)