3-Act Task: Train Station Construction

Train Station Construction

Act 1:

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Design #1

Tile Design #1

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 12.30.15 AM

Tile Design #2


How many tiles are missing in each design?

How many total tiles are in each design?

Act 2:

There are 20 unfinished tile designs in the train station.

Tiles are only sold by the sheet.

Tiles cost $10.00 per sheet.

Tile sheet

Tile sheet


Which design should the NYC Subway choose? Why?

Act 3:

Finished Design #1

Finished Design #1

Finished Design #2

Finished Design #2


Cost of finished design #1 is $600.

Cost of finished design #2 is $800.

Key Standards:

4 thoughts on “3-Act Task: Train Station Construction

  1. Andrew,

    I really like this task! Great work! I’m looking forward to seeing more from you soon.

    The one thought I had was about focus. I like to pick one focus for the initial launch of the task and then follow up with other questions later. For example, in your task, I’d just ask how many tiles are missing and launch with that. Then, after the students complete the work for that question, I’d ask follow up (sequel) questions. For your task, that would include, “How much would all the tiles cost,” or “How many total tiles would be in all 20 unfinished designs?”

    You created so many good avenues for learning in this task! Keep it up!


    • Thanks for the feedback Dane!

      Keeping the launch question simple is a great idea and one that makes it even more accessible to an even larger group of students initially!

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great point, Dane.

      My biggest challenge I’ve had since trying to make my math tasks more meaningful using 3 act and other visuals has been going with a “less structured” plan through the eye of the student. I’m only recently finding that when the task appears to be simple enough using only intuition with no clear indication that it will keep building do the students buy-in quickly. If it appears like too much work at the onset, some students may choose not to engage because they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work rather than the difficulty.

      I’ve recently started doing all tasks at the whiteboard so students have nothing to work with except white space and each other. Only after the original task has been solved and shared out do I provide any sort of consolidation activity that extends the concepts. By then, I find that students are invested enough in the problem that they almost can’t disengage.

      Keep up the work and I look forward to seeing more from you soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is an outstanding breakdown, Kyle! Thanks for sharing your process. I agree that students get overwhelmed if the task doesn’t appear simple enough at the start. That’s the low entry that so many talk about.


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