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Unit Chats

About This Lesson

Topics: Mental math, numerical fluency; argument & critique
Materials: White board or projector
Common Core: Variable, but especially MP3, MP1, and NBT

Counting with respect to different units.

Unit Chats are one of the great openers developed in the last few years. The emphasis is on different units within the image. Students can answer “how many” with respect to the different options of units presented by the picture, and also relate the units to each other to build the framework for a deeper understanding of multiplication, division, and fractions.

Truly a knockout opener.

Why We Love Unit Chats

Unit Chats are a kind of Number Talk that emphasizes not just how many, but also the unit involved. These are a fantastically productive, fun, differentiated, and delightful warm up for math.

The Launch

Post a Unit Chat image. It should have different kinds of objects to count in it, and be arranged in arrays or other structures as appropriate for the student level. Students get some time to look at what is in the picture, and how many of which object they see. After they’ve had 20 – 60 seconds to look, ask students what they see. You’ll receive different answers about what they saw, and how many. You can ask students to explain different ways of counting what they saw, and also different things that they see to count in the picture.

Unit Chat Images

Find some favorite Unit Chat images below. Those without credits were taken by us. Other images are due to Christopher Danielson (who first developed Unit Chats), Adam Hillman (@witenry), and Malke Rosenfeld. In particular, see more of Malke Rosenfeld’s wonderful dice designs, perfect for Unit Chats, by going here. Many of Adam Hillman’s incredible images are also perfect: check out his instagram feed here.

Download 40 new Unit Chat images here

Unit Chat Images

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