Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation Designs with Nines: Patterns in Multiplication and Division (Day 1) - Section 2: Activity


In the recent past, this is the kind of activity I would have in some ways been uncomfortable doing because it might have been perceived as play in our test-driven academic environment.  Many adults have the impression, which has been sent down from pressure weary administrators, that we need to be focused on instruction all the time AND that instruction looks like children sitting at desks in front of computers or working with paper and pencil.  Thank goodness for the Common Core, because now all of that is changing!  I am so happy when I see my students engaged in a task such as this because they are happy.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I know that this alone does not learning make.  It takes planning, and in my case sometimes a checklist as well (for prompting myself), to execute creative, play-type tasks that also follow a clear learning trajectory.  This activity, while allowing many opportunities for oral language development, socializing through "play", and individual expression, is at its core a basic math exercise.  The students are practicing their 9 facts, repeating them, and becoming ever more familiar with the products that represent the correct answer.  

This is the first year that I've truly felt I had the freedom to go fully down this path, and I think the payoff will be enormous.  As long as I keep firmly to the path of making sure I stay true to the purpose of activities such as this, what may appear to be a playful and (in my classroom at least) noisy and somewhat chaotic environment is at it's heart a valuable math fact exercise.  I think it will be far more effective than the endless drilling we have done all these years.  I'm excited to see how the children's fluency progresses over time and compare it with prior years in which the vehicle for learning math facts was constant drills.

  Authentic Enjoyment Can Be a Powerful Vehicle for Learning
  Intrinsic Motivation: Authentic Enjoyment Can Be a Powerful Vehicle for Learning
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Designs with Nines: Patterns in Multiplication and Division (Day 1)

Unit 4: Introduction to Basic Division
Lesson 5 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to create a design by using products of equations in which 9 is a factor, decompose designs into a new pattern by dividing all products by 3 and express their observations about the mathematical patterns they discover.

Big Idea: Making designs and examining visual patterns can help students learn their basic facts!

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