Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm Fundamental Counting Principle Barbie!

As I had said earlier, this spring, I'm hoping to kick off a bunch of new lessons that I'm attempting to use based upon my experiences this first semester. In Trigonometry, our very first unit is Probability & Data Analysis with our very first learning target focusing on the Fundamental Counting Principle.

Now, I haven't taught this lesson but I figured I'd get started and post about it and then post the results later on.

The previous night for homework, I assign an ASSISTment which reviews basic probability concepts from Algebra 1 (this will give me a quick Pre Assessment, as well). Next, there is an embedded instructional video in the online homework where the kids learn about the Fundamental Counting Principle (I can see how long the kids spend on the questions so I can guarantee that they watch the whole video). After this, they answer 3 questions:

1) What is the Fundamental Counting Principle?
2) What questions do you have still about the Fundamental Counting Principle?
3) What's your favorite kind of sandwich?

The last one is just for fun. Lastly, they then have 3 questions on the Fundamental Counting Principle.

Last semester, this homework assignment had an average of a 78%. Not bad, considering they learned it at home.

An additional homework assignment that I will assign will be for the kids to each bring in one SCHOOL APPROPRIATE magazine, not giving any other details.

This next part will require a few materials (the list is for one group)
-Magazines (student provided but I'll bring a few)

The following day.....

Using the magazines that the kids bring in for homework, the kids will cut out articles of clothing in their groups (these can be student chosen or teacher assigned) for about 10 minutes.

I don't want to let the kids know .... yet ..... that this project isn't just for fun, but there will be math involved.

I do fear that I will lose the boys on this one, so I might crack a few remarks saying that you make Barbie and Ken look as snazzy or goofy as you would like.

After the ten minutes is up, I will then show the kids the real assignment.

For the rest of the period (we have block), I will allow the kids to work on their posters while monitoring the groups. I'm thinking that the following day, I will have groups present their findings so that this gives me time to check the math on each poster and the kids can work on verbalizing their math.

Since we have an hour and a half, I'm also allowing time to go over the homework assignment from the previous night where we can discuss the questions covering fundamental counting principle.

I was inspired by a pin I saw where the teacher did a similar lesson with Mr. Potato Head. I looked into this but decided that due to costs (man are kids' toys expensive), this was not feasible (come on, it's my first year). Then, it just came to me. Crossed fingers! Overall, my hope is that, although this is a fairly simple topic, we can have some fun collaborative work during the first week of classes.

Since I haven't done this one yet, and so far it is in the "on deck" stage of lessons, please feel free to give me some feedback or suggestions! I hopefully covered all the student created issues such as "THIS OUTFIT DOESN'T MATCH" but I'm sure there are more and would love to hear them now!


  1. This looks awesome! I can't wait to try it out with my kids!

    I found your blog on Pinterest and you have quickly become a blog that I keep coming back to for more math ideas! Thank you!!

    1. Thanks! I get to try the lesson in about a month so I can't wait to post about the results!

      Doesn't pinterest rock? My kids follow me on pinterest so a few of them say, if you want to know what we're doing in class, just look at her pinterest! There are so many wonderful ideas on there!

  2. I used this idea yesterday! I loved it! Thanks!

    1. Awesome! I haven't gotten to use it as my course load got changed this semester since I had started planning! Did you change anything or notice anything that I should know when I finally do get to teach it?


  3. Stumbled upon this idea a few weeks ago, and was just able to use this today! Kids had fun creating their posters and I was surprised how many jumped right to the correct operation to figure out the possibilities.
    Thanks for the great idea!!!

    1. That's great! I love the twist of figuring out how to find Barbie's true possibilities! Thanks for the comment!


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