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Function Machine Lesson

Sheilla Norton Topic: Math computation with a function machine Grade Level: 1st Grade Materials: Large appliance box Spray paint Christmas light string Remote light plug in (usually available at Christmas time) Tape Light switch Counters, paperclips, or anything that can be used to count Unifix Cubes Index cards Plastic bags Pre-Lesson Preparation: Creating the Function Box: To create a function machine box, spray paint a large appliance box. Cut out a door in the back. Install Christmas lights along the top by cutting an "X" to push the light thru. Cut openings for the Input and Output holes, and label. Install a dummy light switch. Decorate as desired. Use a remote control light plug-in to control the lights when the machine is "turned on" and when students get the answer right. Set up the box near an outlet. Plug in the remote control strip and put the remote control in the box. Prepare counters, unifix cubes or other counting materials in the box for the assistant in baggies, so they are easy to immediately dispense thru the output opening. Prepare "Rule" cards to show students after they have guessed the rule. Introduction: Tell students that the box in the corner is an important machine that will help them with math later that day. While students are out of the room, have an assistant get into the box. 3 +2 5

Function Machine Lesson

Procedure: At the start of the lesson, have students assemble around the machine. Flip "on" the machine by flipping the switch [the assistant should turn on the lights with the remote.] Tell the students that "I am going to add these counters to the machine, it is your job to figure out what I programmed the machine to add to the counters that where input into the machine." Rule of +1: Add 1 counter ­ Output should be 2 counters Repeat adding different number of counters, then outputting that number + 1 until students have guessed the rule. When the students have correctly identified the rule, blink the lights with the remote, and send out an index card with the rule on it. Next tell students you are going to try to stump them, this time it will be harder. Rule of + 3: same procedure as above but output is +3 Continue until students are comfortable with the procedure. Closure: When the lesson is complete, turn "off" the machine and ask the "brain" of the machine to step out. Have the assistant step out of the machine. Next tell students you will use this machine, and each student will have a chance to take a turn in the machine and be the "brain" of the machine where they will be responsible for following the rule programmed into the machine. Extensions: The following days, weeks and months, move from concrete to abstract gradually. You can use unifix cubes, with the "rule" being shown in a different color attached to the original input amount. Index cards can also be used folded in half, where sticker dots are added to one half, and the rule adds more on the other half. The final step can move to number symbolism. You can input a card with a number and output a different number according to the rule "programmed." This activity should also use the students. The helper of the day could have the honor of being the "brain" of the machine. They can choose from a stack of cards with current rules being worked on or even think of their own rule. Assessment: Observations of student responses can be made for one or two students each day and recorded. Students can also fill out Frames and Arrow worksheets (Everyday Math) or Guess My Rule Function boxes (Everyday Math) during the activity. These sheets can be handed in to keep in the students file.


Function Machine Lesson

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