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Math for ELL Students Facilitator Guide Appendix

# Math for ELL Students Facilitator Guide Appendix

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Mathematics for ELL Students (Workshop 2) focuses on the ways in which middle grades educators can support the specific needs of English Language Learners in the math classroom. This document is part of a broader workshop for educators. More information at middlegradesmath.org
Mathematics for ELL Students (Workshop 2) focuses on the ways in which middle grades educators can support the specific needs of English Language Learners in the math classroom. This document is part of a broader workshop for educators. More information at middlegradesmath.org

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12/31/2010

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Workshop 2 Facilitator’s Guide– page
1

Background Information for Doing Mathematics, the Main Activityof the Workshop
This is a classic geometric problem that can help students develop
and consolidate
their understandings of basic concepts of two and three-dimensional geometry, and
of how
geometry connects to
basic
arithmetic.
The problem statement (Participant Handout 2-16):
You and your teammates represent the Best Solutions Consulting Company. Out of This World Candies has engaged you to solve the problem described in the followingmemo:
To:
Best solutions:
To:

Best Solutions Consulting CompanyFrom:

Out of This World Candies
Re:
Problem to be solvedOur company,
Out of This World Candies ,
plans to sell our Starburst candies in a newpackage containing 24 individually wrapped Starbursts. Your challenge is to find thedimensions of the least expensive box that can hold exactly 24 Starbursts.
*
Each wrapped Starburst has a square shape that measures 2 cm on a side and 1 cm high.
In your report we want you to tell us:
1.

The dimensions in centimeters of all the possible boxes we can useto package exactly 24 Starbursts.
2.

The dimensions of the least expensive box for us to produce.
3.

4.

A suggestion to us about which one, of all the boxes, you think would be our best choice. We want to know
why
you think aparticular box is the
best
choice over all the others.

Workshop 2 Facilitator’s Guide– page
2

Analysis of the “Best Box” Problem:
The problem given is not difficult—but because it is complex and becauseparticipants need to figure out for themselves what mathematics to use and how toapproach the problem, it provides a high-level of cognitive demand, even for participants who are mathematics teachers.The instructional approach suggested here for workshop participants models theapproach we recommend for use with English language learners. The work isdivided into three steps so that participants can share their mathematical thinkingand their plans at several points. Each step allows opportunities for participants towork individually, in pairs and as a large group. They also allow you to assess theprogress of the participants and offer any scaffolding needed.We also provide you with some mathematical information and questions that canhelp you guide the participants if they need suggestions. After reading through theproblem and the facilitation suggestions, you should adapt this approach to thegroup you are working with. Your two most important objectives here are to engagethe participants in a lively mathematical challenge; to support them through protocolsand questions in mathematical conversations and thoughtful problem solving.
The basic mathematics of this problem is not difficult. Participants shouldremember the basic formulas for calculating the volume of a rectangular prism (V= L X W X H) and the area of a rectangle (A = L x W). They should also be ableto determine whether a number is or is not a factor of another number.
Finding possible boxes involves being able to stack Starbursts in rectangular arrays and visualize and draw different ways that 24 starbursts can be stacked tofit into a box.
The least expensive box is the one that uses the smallest amount of material.The surface area of a box is one way to measure the amount of material—theamount of material needed to wrap around the Starbursts.
The box with the smallest surface area is the one with the most compactdimensions. The smallest box has dimensions 4 cm x 4 cm x 6 cm and a surfacearea of 132 cm
2
. This corresponds to four layers of 6 Starbursts, each layer being a 2 x 3 array of Starbursts. In comparison, the most spread out box withdimensions 1 cm x 2 cm x 48 cm, has the largest surface area, 292 cm
2
. Thiscorresponds to a single row of 24 Starbursts.
Calculating surface area is simply a matter of adding up the areas of the sixrectangular faces making up a particular box.

Workshop 2 Facilitator’s Guide– page
3

Probably the most difficult part of the problem is being able to develop asystematic way of organizing data about different boxes in order to determinewhether they have found all the possible boxes (there are ten different possibleboxes). It involves keeping systematic records of each new arrangement, anddetermining whether it fits into a different-sized than any previous arrangement.One way to find all the boxes is to systematically make stacks of Starburstsarranged in rectangular prisms until no more can be made. Start with all thestacks that are 1 cm high. Make all the possible prisms. Then make a stack 2 cmhigh and do the same. Continue with 3 cm and 4 cm. Participants who continueto stack Starbursts 6 cm high and 8 cm high will discover that the dimensions of the prisms they find are the same as ones they found using stacks with lower heights. Participants will probably not realize this until they build all the possiblestacks, the highest one being 24 cm high. (Dimensions 2 x 2 x 24.) This has thesame dimensions as a stack 2 cm high and 12 Starbursts long:
An excellent way to find out whether all possible boxes have been found is to usethe fact that all the dimensions (lengths, widths, heights) must be integers. Thevolume of a single Starburst (1 cm x 2 cm x 2 cm) is 4 cm
3
, the volume of 24Starbursts is 96 cm
3
. Therefore only integers that are factors of 96 can formboxes that hold 24 Starbursts.One way to prove this is to choose a length that is not a factor of 96, for example, 10. Since 96/10 = 9.6, at least one of the other dimensions must bea fraction since 10 x W x H must equal 96. But we know that all the lengthsmust be integers, so 10 cannot be the length of a box. The same will be trueof any number that is not a factor of 96.The factors of 96 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 48 and 96. So the boxesthat can hold 24 Starbursts are limited to all the possibilities for which 3 of these numbers multiply to 96. For example, 3 x 4 x 8 (this could be a 2 x 4array of Starbursts stacked 3 layers high). Not all factor combinations willresult in a box that can hold Starbursts. For example a box with dimensions 1x 1 x 96, is too thin to hold any Starbursts; a box with dimensions 1 x 3 x 32can only hold 16 Starbursts, with 8 Starbursts left over that can’t be fit into aspace that measures 1 x 1 x 32.

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