Reflection: Multi-Step Word Problem in the Real World - Section 3: Concept development


"That was easy,... I mean fun!" is my favorite quote of the day.  I like it for several reasons. First, I really like WHO this remark came from. A boy, who typically spends large amounts of time trying to derail a lesson and tends to give an attitude of dismissal to academics is WHO said that!  This is also a favorite quote from the day because it really embodies the attitude I want my students to have about math.  I want them to see problems something to persevere through and yes, fun. The feeling in the room when students solved the problem literally gave me goosebumps.  The pride and ownership my students took in their own learning was incredible.  It's days like these a teacher wishes for every day.

As you can see from my video reflection, this was a fun and fabulous lesson for me and for my students.  The students did a wonderful job working together and persevering in this task.  As you can see from this student's paper, this was a challenging task that provided productive struggle for many fourth graders.  Some teachers might wonder how much information a teacher can gain about students based on one problem, and I would argue that I gain far more knowledge about my students abilities when they have opportunities to explain their thinking in a rich problem solving situation. 

For example, I learned that some students are still struggling with reading and writing large numbers.  I also learned that some students are getting very confident with the phrase that pays, or math talk, while others have trouble coming up with math words like addend, subtraction, and difference. I learned very quickly which students still need more support with regrouping and subtraction as well as which students tend to me conscientious and checked their subtraction with addition.  While a page of subtraction problems could give me information about regrouping abilities, it doesn't give me insight into how to help me students.  When students solve and talk about their thinking in a rich task, it opens doors, sometimes just little bity cracks, for me as their facilitator to make instructional decisions based on what I observe. As I watch and listen to students, I carry a clipboard and pencil in hand.  I am constantly jotting down notes about student misconceptions I can then address in the pull out instructional group time or tutor time.

  That was easy, I mean FUN!
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Multi-Step Word Problem in the Real World

Unit 3: Place Value
Lesson 4 of 5

Objective: Students will be able to solve multi-step word problems and practice using math practice standard 3.

Big Idea: Students work on a multi-step word problem and strengthen their perseverance.

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