So, I “borrowed” a lesson plan from Dan Meyer here and modified it. It still isn’t perfect, but I figured I’d share. Go read his version first then come back.
Since Dan said his students were puzzled, I toned down my difficulty a little, but I must have undershot because the students breezed through this. I think the biggest help was putting the blank space with the arrows, strongly implying how the unfolding was supposed to be done. The students definitely could have handled some three-fold examples with the arrows present.
After this I wanted the students to design their own snowflakes; specifically, I wanted them to cut how they liked, then predict what the unfolding would be, then unfold and go oo aah pretty. You can probably guess what happened: the skipped the prediction altogether and did a lot of oo aah pretty. I didn’t have this part as a fill-in-worksheet, which was a mistake, but I also with think the self-designed snowflakes were simply too complicated to draw in their full glory.
When they were done I had them (if they wanted) hang their own snowflakes around the room where they liked. There are currently some on my front door. It’s still winter, right?
In any case, Dan writes “maybe we can spin something better out of it” so I took a crack and now I’m passing the buck. Anyone else want a go? It’ll be fun, sort of an inter-blog morphing lesson plan that will likely turn into something about aliens or carbon dating by the fifth iteration.