I love that Mrs. New has already been through this unit a couple of times. She give me great tips! For "Distributing the Area I" she advised that we make a handout with the 6 area model rectangles so the students could just write inside them. This helped the activity to move along faster than if they had drawn the area models. Some of my students are perfectionists so they would take forever to draw a perfect rectangle and then have little time to work on the actual task in the lesson. My students seemed to really enjoy this activity. After I showed them #1 as an example they pretty much took off with it. I even had one boy who I have to get on to often for sitting and doing nothing to be the first one to get the answers for #6. I was proud of him!
"Views of the Distributive Property" was an activity that made them think about the way that they multiply 2 digit numbers. They are shown through the activity that they have really been using the distributive property and partial products all along. My students whined a little bit about having to do the problem involving the long form but I tried to explain to them that this was just a foundation on which we were going to build as we started multiplying algebraic expressions.
I have taught multiplying and factoring polynomials using the area model for a couple of years. I have called it "the box method" but it is the same thing. Even though I feel like it gave the students a more visual way to work through the problem and it also helped them to organize their work I still had some students who would take forever to get the idea that the product inside the box comes from multiplying the 2 values on the outside of the boxes. I am excited about the way Fireworks has built the idea of using the area model. My students will have the idea of the "lots" changing size from the "A Lot of Changing Sides" activity so hopefully they will feel like the answer is just like adding up all the smaller areas even when we are multiplying polynomials.
Another thing that excited me today is that I got through these activities in the time that the teacher's guide recommends. That is an accomplishment for me!