Reflection: Modeling Number Operations - Section 1: Do Now


Rational number operations are pivotal concepts in the upper elementary grades. Often, students with significant gaps in skills with fractions and decimals lack the important building blocks to attack the negatives. It is equally important to expose students to models that help them understand these concepts. This year, about half of my 7th grade cohort continued to miss problems that involved positive and negative rational numbers. Whether they were working with order of operations or with word problems, half of my students continued to get these problems incorrect, according to weekly and quarterly assessment data.

Thus, when it came time to put ether a test prep unit, I knew I was going to have to bring this lesson back. I decided to start it this year with a review of integers on the number line and a discussion of what it meant to “add”, “combine”, or subtract numbers on the number line. It is important to note here that I am sure I was not able to fill all the gaps within this one lesson, or within any of the other lessons we used this year specifically targeted at rational number operations. Helping ALL students to fill these gaps takes longer than one lesson, and sometimes, longer than a school year. The number line models and other problem solving strategies are the way to get there. As educators, we have to continue to push ourselves away from the procedural tricks we “teach” our students to use. They do not work and they hold our students back in higher levels of math. It is MUCH easier to teach it this way and much harder to teach through models and strategies, but it pays off in really immense and wonderful ways. This is why I focused the Do Now this year on a “model” to show these rational number operations. 

  Modeling: Modeling With Number Lines
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Number Operations

Unit 8: Test Prep
Lesson 1 of 8

Objective: SWBAT meet a mastery percentage goal to review number operations and prepare for the NY State test

Big Idea: Students practice multiple fluency and problem solving items and review number operations relevant to 7th grade math to kick off the test prep unit

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