Meridian, California

How many squares do you see?


This is the second number talk in the Daily Overview Math series. I’m in no way an expert on these exercises so check out this video from Jo Boaler.

I put the Daily Overview image in front of my students but didn’t flash it the way Jo did in the video. Instead, I left it up for the kids to do some analyzing. I was surprised by the results.

At first, they simply pointed out the individual squares like this one.

We also debated about whether or not this (and others like it) was a square.

Then, a few students spoke up about combining squares to make a bigger square, and that released the flood gates for awesomeness. Some students saw squares like the one below (I didn’t originally see it), and we talked about whether we should count them because of the diagonal line crossing through.


Also, some students realized that the whole picture is a square. It was beautiful to see almost every student speak up (sometimes standing up to be noticed first) to point out another square they saw. We also shared how we went about counting and analyzing the picture. There were many different paths to determining the number of squares.

The “Answer” Video:


Since there was so much debate about how many and what actually counts, I decided not to highlight all of the squares. The video is meant to show many possibilities while also opening up the floor for student creativity. Let me know what you think and how it can be improved.

Official Lesson Page:


Daily Overview / Satellite imagery courtesy of Digital Globe / Benjamin Grant

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