Introduction: The Four Fours project is a collaborative activity that
stresses problem solving and critical thinking as applied to order of
Timing: This activity requires 90-120 minutes of class time to complete. Break it up over two, maybe three
periods. Some of the project can
be assigned for homework. Getting
the math component done in class will allow students to focus on the creative component
at home and will reduce the chance that students will get too far off base with
the mathematical side of the project.
Group Size: Groups of 3 or 4
Learning Objectives: The objective of this activity is to:
Review order of operations
Develop problem solving and critical thinking skills
Integrate a creative component into a traditional math lesson
Guiding Question: How can you use order of operations to manipulate four fours
to produce a desired result?
Materials: The provided graph paper, markers, colored pencils, and
other random art supplies. Photocopy enough activity sheets for each student.
through the opening sections as a class. Students should feel comfortable with the example calculation and
understand that the grouping symbol (addition within the parenthesis) must be
completed first, followed by the multiplication, and finally by the
addition. Cover the advanced
operations and leave the solved values on the board. Once students feel comfortable with the mathematical side of
the project, have them split up their number and get started. Student will inadvertently discover
other group member’s numbers. It
can be really tough to get all 40, so I usually let it slide. Many students will need continued
support. It can be tricky when
they get down to their last couple.
on the art component the following day. I typically won’t give out the art supplies until they are 3/4th
of their numbers done and an initial outline of their poster. Students can present their four fours
in a variety of ways. I have had
posters range from The Four Four’s Matrix, with the number streaming like the
opening of the movie, to pop-out fish with the four fours written on each
fish. Try and keep the poster size
standard if you want to post them around the room after completion. The years where it wasn’t standardized,
I received enormous projects along with mini ones.
their four fours on the table provided.
This is where their four fours will
actually graded for correctness.
The poster will only be assessed for creativity and neatness.
sure student understand the use of the rubric and know that they must score
themselves before the project is turned it. The extra point is given with the idea that if anyone
matches my score, they must of used the rubric properly. The same goes for taking the point. If they over-scored themselves by four
points, they probably did not follow the rubric.
group grader can be used if students feel like that one or two members did not
there is available time, I typically allow groups to present their posters to
should only turn in one of their activity sheets with the actual project.
Assessment: Each group’s four fours should be graded based on the rubric
included in the activity sheet. I
score to the half point with the rubric.
Answer Key: Each group’s four fours will be different, so an answer key
would be of no use.