The Tale of the Grumpy Parrot and the Purple Snazzleberries

Our kindergarten team did some work around 3-Act Tasks last year and in our team meeting today the teachers wondered if there were any 3-Act Tasks that might fit well with our pattern unit. We took a look at Graham Fletcher’s 3-Act Task, Stage 5 Series. We wondered what a 3-Act Task around repeating patterns might look like.

After our meeting I did a little internet searching, but didn’t find come up with anything. I had a little time so I thought, “Why don’t I just make something?”

“The Tale of the Grumpy Parrot and the Purple Snazzleberries” is based on an imaginary story–which is different than many 3-Act Tasks that are based on real-life problems or stories. However, my experience as a kindergarten teacher and a coach tells me that both real-life and imaginary stories can both provide young mathematicians with the intellectual need to figure something out. I hope this one does too!

We’ll meet as a kindergarten team again on Tuesday and we’ll read “Trying Three-Act Tasks with Primary Students,” a new article by Kendra Lomax, Kristin Alfonzo, Sara Dietz, Ellen Kleyman, and Elham Kazemi out just this month in Teaching Children Mathematics. 

We’ll take a look at the 3-Act Task I created and make revisions. We’ll think about how children might engage with this 3-Act Task and how we might listen deeply and gently nudge their thinking. We’ll think about the big ideas about patterns in Kindergarten and where those ideas go beyond Kindergarten.

This 3-Act Task is actually three 3-Act Tasks in one which could be shown over three days or in one big problem solving session.

The Grumpy Parrot and The Goat:

Act 1:

IMG_6963

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Act 2 Video

  • How can the goat build the Magical Pattern Bridge?
  • How many tiles will the goat need to get all the way across?

Act 3 Video

The Grumpy Parrot and The Turkey:

Act 1:

IMG_6974

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Act 2 Video

  • How can the turkey build the Magical Pattern Bridge?
  • How many tiles will the turkey need to get all the way across?

Act 3 Video

The Grumpy Parrot and the Walrus:

Act 1:

IMG_6979

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Act 2 Video

  • How can the walrus build the Magical Pattern Bridge?
  • How many tiles will the walrus need to get all the way across?

Act 3 Video

Some things I’m wondering are:

  • Are the videos too leading towards just a couple of questions? How could they be more open?
  • Will any students want to figure out how many purple snazzleberries each animal can eat? I chose the number of berries (12) and the arrangement purposefully so that kids might investigate how many berries each animal would get if 2, 3, or 4 animals shared them equally (or unequally!)

I’ll be sure to report back once we give this 3-Act a test spin and I’d love to hear how you might use, revise or extend it!

Update: Simon Gregg (@simon_gregg) gave me a wonderful idea for a sequel to this 3-Act. In this video, a seal comes to the river after the other animals. There is no partial bridge. The Grumpy Parrot says the seal may only come across the bridge if he can make a pattern bridge that is different than the ones that have come before. This gives students the opportunity to make their own pattern rather than extending the pattern.

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