The "Launch" refers to the launch of the problem solving question that the group is going to be attempting to solve. It should be done with a large group, rather than small groups to save time. I personally split my class of 34 into roughly half, however I pull other kids down or shift them around quite fluidly.
Unpacking and understanding the story of the problem takes up a huge chunk of time. It is important to allow the students the chance to figure it out, without giving it away. This was an issue I had in the beginning where I would rush the launch so that they could get started on the maths thinking. However understanding the story, is just as important for the DMIC process as unpacking the equation. I recently had my first observed session by a DMIC mentor. They told me that the launch involves just two questions; “What is the story about?/ What do we know from the story?” and “What are we trying to find out?”
Once you have introduced the problem and taken a few ideas from students about what the story is about, get the large group into smaller groups of 4. Together they will figure out what they think the story is about, and whether they can agree on a strategy they could use to solve it. It is important to make sure that none of the students have a maths book in their hands at this point, and that all the discussion is verbalised amongst the group. The teacher then goes around and assesses how the group discussions are going, but does not sit and work with any one group yet. When the group has agreed on a strategy, choose one student to be the 'recorder' and let them use that persons (at only that persons) maths book and pencil.
In these groups the learners will solve the problem together and then report back, and continue with the rest of the DMIC process. To read these notes we were given in full see the document here.
An example problem that I used during my observed lesson was this:
- Teacher (T) to read problem in full.
- T) Question group about the problem
- Who knows who Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is?,
- Who watches League?
- Who knows what the Full back does?
- What are running meters?
- What do you think the phrase "clocked up" means?
- T) ask students to think about what the "story" is
- What is the story asking us to do
The idea is that all the learners will understand what this story is about, and that they are thinking about whether or not Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be able to run enough meters each game to meet his goal. This is crucial that they understand the story, before they start thinking about the maths. Therefore when they start thinking about the maths strategy to use they will be able to eliminate some strategies that wound't fit the problem.