Knotty Rope 3-Act: Introducing Division in 3rd Grade

This lesson write-up is for teachers who want to engage their students in exploring division reasoning and problem solving strategies (3.OA.2, 3.OA.3 and 3.OA.7). It’s appropriate to use before and/or after students have explored division and allows for many different conceptual approaches to a solution including using repeated subtraction or repeated addition, equal groups with or without manipulatives, number lines, arrays, bar models, and multiplication or division equations to model a real world problem.

This write-up contains a lesson pathway with specific questions/moves to consider, analysis of the opportunities for student learning, and other wisdoms and insights we learned from teaching this lesson as a part of a lesson inquiry.

Give it a try with your own students. And then tell me how it went. Let’s make it better together.

What would put on a billboard? #TT4T

Billboards have been around for centuries. They’re effective at creating a message for political, social, or economic purposes. Many of us have some sort of small billboard in front of our classrooms. Sometimes they’re inspirational messages or quotes. Sometimes they express a value or a classroom norm about how people should be treated. Sometimes they are content specific, sometimes not.

Tools of Titans for Teachers Book Study (#TT4T)

I’m going to start a book study, and I’d like you to join me. Waitwaitwait!!!! Don’t go anywhere. I’m not asking for much. Because this is a book study where you don’t actually have to read the book.

I’m reading Tim Ferriss’s book Tools of Titans. I’ve found his incredibly enlightening podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show” to be filled with ideas that can relate to the professional development of teachers and to the creation of a productive learning culture in the math classroom. His book is no different.

Join the #TT4T conversation!


I was moved by Jamie Garner’s (@mavenofmath) recent post about her #mathconfession.  I encourage you to read it here. Here are a few rambling thoughts and musings she’s sparked in my brain. I think most of use walk through this world with an unconscious fear that we will be exposed as a fraud…that we are not […]

To Design for the Average is to Design for Nobody

I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase “differentiated instruction” because it’s always felt redundant to me.  How is “differentiated instruction” different from “effective instruction”?  Are there ever really times when we want instruction to be “undifferentiated”?  What are the implications for lesson design? I bring this point up because, in my humble opinion, thinking about […]