Reflection: Trust and Respect Patterns and Abstractions - Section 2: Check Your Homework: Words and Abstractions 1


I really hope for kids to understand that when they try something, they unlock an opportunity in their brain to learn something new.  Many of them have struggled with the first number trick on Part 1 of the Number Trick Project.  That's ok, I explain to everyone: the fact that you've tried something, even if you haven't been successful, is exactly what gives you the opportunity to learn something today.

Creating this opportunity to learn something new is the "hidden" purpose of sharing the solutions to the Words & Abstractions assignment.  Kids think they're getting away with something, because their teacher is just giving away homework answers.  But when they look at those solutions they notice that I've taken a particular approach to representing the subtraction expressions.

Now, because they know I'm on their side - I am, after all, the guy who is giving away answers - they're more open to having a conversation.  (The real Jedi mind trick here is that kids are always excited to talk about something if they think that it wasn't part of the plan!)  So when they notice that the solutions to this homework assignment that are posted on the board will actually help them with the first part of the project, AND they think it's their idea to talk about that, then we really get rolling.  It is so much fun to watch this happen, and to see how much satisfaction even the most cynical kids get out of this moment.


Along similar lines, here's another note.  In one of today's classes, a student took a look at all of the diagrams on the answer key, shook her head, and said, "This isn't normal."  I smiled at her and asked what she meant.  She explained that she hasn't done math like this before, and that it just feels "weird and different."  I took that opportunity to point to Mathematical Practice #2, particularly to the word "abstractly," and said, "You're saying exactly what this learning target is talking about!  Reasoning abstractly means that you, as a human, have the ability to say the same thing in all sorts of weird and different ways.  That's incredible!  So if you've never thought like this, I'm glad that I get to be the guy who gets you started." 

  Homework Check: A Chance to Think About Subtraction
  Trust and Respect: Homework Check: A Chance to Think About Subtraction
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Patterns and Abstractions

Unit 1: Number Tricks, Patterns, and Abstractions
Lesson 5 of 12

Objective: SWBAT represent number patterns with rules and verbal expressions with both symbols and algebra.

Big Idea: Ideally, students will begin to see some connections between number patterns and the words, symbols, and algebraic expressions of the Number Trick Project.

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3 teachers like this lesson
Math, order of operations, Algebra, Algebraic expressions, pattern
  42 minutes
u1l5 opener developing rules 2
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