Real World Math Problems & Engaging Math Lessons

Below are problem based math lesson, three act math tasks and activities I use with my classes. 

If you have never taught a lesson like these I suggest you start with Dan Meyer’s post, then head to read about the Make Math Moments 3-Part Framework and finally you can read through my Peek into My Classroom page

Feel free to use and edit these lessons to suit your grade band and individual students. 

New to Using 3 Act Math Tasks?

Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

Donut Delight 3 act math task

Donut Delight

Students will explore multiplication and division with efficient strategies that can be used with large numbers using the array model.

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Hot Chocolate 3 act math task

Hot Chocolate

Engage in a low-floor, high-ceiling series of tasks where students can utilize counting, addition, multiplication, division and ratios and rates.

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Gummy Worms Subtraction 3 Act Math Task

Gummy Worms

Explore addition and subtraction structures conceptually through a unit of context-rich math task lessons and purposeful practice opportunities.

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Pizza Party - Real World Math Dividing Fractions Quotatively

Pizza Party

Explore quotative division of fractions through the context of servings of pizza at a party. Real world math task dividing fractions.

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Voting Booth | Proportional Relationships | Problem Based Math Unit

Voting Booth

Investigate a real world math problem including percentages with extensions to creating and solving direct variation linear equations.

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MMM Shot Put Algebra Unit

Shot Put

3 Act Math Lessons involving solving equations using equivalence and algebraic substitution and elimination to solve systems of equations.

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Scavenger Hunt

In this Scavenger Hunt 3 act math style unit of lessons, students will explore data management, mean as the great equalizer and bar graphs

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MMM Task - Wooly Worm Race - Featured Image

Wooly Worm Race

3 Act Math style unit of lessons involving represent, order, and compare fractional amounts based on the distances travelled by caterpillars

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MMM Unit - Snack Time - Featured Image copy

Snack Time!

Dividing whole numbers through partitive division resulting in a fractional amount & dividing ratios to reveal a rate 3 Act Math Tasks

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MMM Unit - Piggy Bank - Featured Image

Piggy Bank

Number talk and practice problem BLM handout exploring the relationship between fractions and decimals using the money model.

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The Make Math Moments 3-Part Framework Guidebook

How do you create a culture of engagement and participation in your math class to ensure students are leaning in to learn?

Then, once students are leaning in, how are we going to tackle new mathematical ideas in a way that builds the necessary conceptual understanding and develops procedural fluency over time?

Finally, how can we craft our lessons in such a way that every student can access the mathematical content and don’t throw their arms up in frustration?

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No Bikes Allowed

Students will use their understanding of pattering to bring about topics such as linear relations, rate of change, slope, and solving equations.

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Least Common Multiple

Hour Glass Multiples

In this 3-Act Task students will be presented with a puzzling video of 3 “hour glass” sand timers. Students will solve a brain-teaser like problem while ultimately learning about common multiples and the least common multiple (LCM).

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Modelling Data

Pumpkin Time-Bomb Activity

This fall themed activity asks students to predict how many rubber bands will implode a pumpkin. Use data collected from over 120 exploded pumpkins and create scatterplots to make predictions.

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linear relations

Turbo Texting

Students break out their devices and text away to discover the relationship between the length of a message and how long it takes to text it.

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Perimeter Jumble

This takes the classic maximizing the area of a rectangle problem and adds elements of curiosity and purposeful practice to help reveal the relationship.

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Solving Linear Equations

Pentomino Puzzles

A Hands-on activity is blended with interactive technology. Students begin with puzzles but ultimately create algebraic expressions and solve equations.

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Linear Systems

Two Trains…

The classic two trains are approaching each other problem without the trains. Students will solve a system of equations to determine the answer to this 3-Act Math Problem.

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Unit Rates

Fast Clapper

Let’s get a round of applause for this active lesson that asks students to use unit rates or proportions to see if they can beat the fastest clapper in the world.

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Dora to the Rescue

Finally teach collecting like terms and the distributive property with context! Find the perimeter and area of a counter top using only Doras!

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Polynomial Functions

Many Many Volumes

Crowd source the relationship between the volume of a box and the height of the box. Build boxes and use Desmos to investigate.

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A inquiry activity with a little competition. Who can get their car to the finish line closest without going over? Use lines of best fit

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New to Using 3 Act Math Tasks?

Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

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