The Cupcake Shop: Performance Task Multiplication Project (Grades 2-4)

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Students are asked to become managers of this bakery cupcake shop! This is an in-depth look at groups and the conceptual understanding behind multiplication. This is a perfect project for those students that continually mix up the difference between groups vs. the number in a group, or if they struggle to understand the meaning behind multiplication number sentences. It is also great fact practice as it starts with facts in the 3s, and gets harder as they go. The majority of the facts covered are 3s, 4s, and 5s.

The project will be a bit repetitive as it is a way for students to practice their new facts with something to connect it to in real life.

This entire project uses the Concrete- Representational-Abstract instructional sequence. As they move along in the project, they move along in the steps. This approach is explained here:

1. When a student is introduced to a new concept or something unfamiliar, you allow the use of tools. (Concrete)

2. When the student can perform the task, they move on to representing the concept with drawings or pictures. (Representational)

3. When the student can master the task with a drawing or a picture they move to using only numbers and symbols. (Abstract)

What is in the problem?

There are 3 stages within this giant problem (Stages 1 and 2 have between 5 and 10 tasks in it) walking the student through what they need to do. The 3rd stage is open ended and is great for differentiating the project. The problems integrate math, reading and a bit of writing. It is challenging, parts of it are open ended, and is a perfect way to practice performance tasks. Everything you need for the problem is included, and the preview has one of each of the first two stages for you to try. The only thing you will need is a material for the students to actually build the cupcake boxes. You could use counters, cubes or any sort of marker that will allow them to work concretely in the first stage.

You will notice that the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded within these performance tasks.

What age are the problems appropriate for?

These challenges are appropriate for 2nd graders that may be ready to explore multiplication, 3rd graders who are beginning multiplication, and for struggling 4th graders. I currently use this in my 4th grade intervention group, which is a full year behind their peers.

How can this problem be used?

There are many ways you can use this performance task:

* Fast finisher activity
* Small group work
* Homework for students
* Gifted and talented small groups
* Intervention small groups
* Whole class activity

The problem steps and their curricular focus:

1. Stage 1: In this stage there are five problems in which students are given stories about the cupcake orders. For each of the 5 problems they:

* Build concrete models.
* Draw representations of those models.
* Connect to abstract number sentences.

2. Stage 2: In this stage there are ten problems in which students fill orders for problems. Initially there are diagrams which are objects, then numbers and then some numbers are missing. For each of the problems they:

* Read drawings and representations.
* Connect to abstract number sentences.

4. Stage 3: There is an extensive open ended element to this problem. This is where the entire project differentiates, as they choose a cupcake price (this is internationally friendly-the amount is open ended without a label), and then they calculate the potential revenue of all of the cupcakes ordered.

There is an answer key at the end of the project. Check out the preview to try out one of each of the first two stages.

If you like performance tasks and open ended problems:

FREE! Doggy Dilemma: Open Ended Performance Task
Open Ended Word Problems (My best seller!)
Open Ended Problems - Set 2
Holiday Version - On Stage! Open Ended Performance Task
Presidential Birthday Statisticians: Open Ended Performance Task
Open Ended Math Journal: 125 Prompts to Promote Deep Thinking
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks

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The Cupcake Shop: Performance Task Multiplication Project
The Cupcake Shop: Performance Task Multiplication Project
The Cupcake Shop: Performance Task Multiplication Project
The Cupcake Shop: Performance Task Multiplication Project
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