3 Act: Stick Up Robot

I happened to be at Staples and I glanced down the Post-it aisle and noticed that not only was there a giant pad of Post-it notes but now they had come out with an even bigger pack of Post-it notes!  I bought them not knowing exactly how I would use them.  I remembered some other 3 Act tasks I had seen using Post-its and an article I read last year in an NCTM journal about using Post-its for area and perimeter. I thought about how I could use them in a task for area in a way that makes it a little more engaging for kids and that’s how Stick Up Robot came about.


Google Slide Deck

Act 1

How many tiles would it take to cover the whole robot?

Estimate.  Write a too low and a too high estimate.

Act 2

Yellow Post-it

Pink Post-it

Teal Post-it

Tiled Teal Post-it

Robot Blackline (can print as a scaffold for organizing work)

Act 3

Robot Total

3 Act: Gotta Count ‘Em All

Recently I’ve been reading the book Counting Collections and I got really inspired to create some three act tasks that played on the counting collections structure. I particularly liked the sections about recording student work and I thought this would be a really great visual for students to take back to their work with counting collections to think about different ways that they could record their work but also different ways that they could group and organize numbers when counting large collections.

My son is a huge Pokemon fan and had this great little assortment of Pokemon.

This task can be used for assessing multiple standards and practices, but I settled on 2.NBT.B.7.

Google Slide Deck

Act 1


What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

How many Pokemon altogether?

Make an estimate that is too low, one that is too high and one that is about right.

Act 2

There were 4 cups of 25 Pokemon and 20 more.

Act 3


Act 3 Final Count

3 Act: Be There or Be…

This three act task is based on the Jo Boaler task that she shows in her Ted Talk video where the different color tiles are falling and people see the pattern emerge in different ways,  Although this shows only one way of the colors being added, it’s a great visual representation of how a pattern grows and and looking at perfect squares I just thought this was such a great task for students to grapple with in this way.   Although this task is great for many standards, I have chosen to link it to numeric patterns 4.OA.C.5.

Google Slide Deck

Act 1

What did you notice? What do you wonder?

Focus Question: What will the 5th shape look like? or How many tiles will be in the 5th shape?

Act 2

Act 2

Act 3

3 Act: Star Pattern

We play a game in stations to practice skip counting called “Cross the Creek” or “Cross the Galaxy.”  Basically we rename it based on the shape of the foam tiles.  The way the game works is that you write multiples of a number or a counting pattern on one side of craft foam pieces.  You then lay it out face up so that students can practice seeing and counting.  Students take turns walking across the numbers and saying them as they walk.  After they cross, they can choose one number to turn over and then the next person goes.  It’s a really great kinesthetic way to get kids to practice counting patterns after they have had time to conceptualize the pattern.

I say all of that to set up this next 3 Act task.  I thought, a predictable sequence would be fun, but I want to start out with a number pattern that encourages students to think about the nature of patterns.  For that reason, there will be two different videos for Act 2 based on student responses to what information they need.  The first will give them just the second number and the next will give them the first three numbers.  The goal is to get them to see that patterns cannot be discerned by simple looking at two numbers (or three in cases like the Fibonacci sequence – but that will be explored at a different time:).  There are many standards this task addresses, it can be used at any grade for MP 8.  Or for content standards in several grades in Operations and Algebraic thinking.  Specifically 2.OA.A.1.

Star Pattern Google Slide Deck

Act 1


What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

What is the number on the yellow star?


Act 2.0


What do you know?  What do you need to know?



Are you confident in your answer after seeing this new information or would you like to revise?

Act 3


3 Act: Jump Drive

While at the NCSM Conference in San Diego, I wanted to see as much of the city as I could after sessions were out.  I walked along the bay and as I continued to walk, I kept seeing scooters and bicycles parked at random intervals.  I decided to check it out and ended up renting one.


Act 1:

IMG_5638Jump Drive Act 1

What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

Focus Question: How much did it cost to rent the bike?

Act 2:

More Information

Act 3:

Jump Drive Act 3

Jump Drive Act 3 (1)