##
* *Reflection:
What Can We Do With Math - Section 2: Solving A Problem

At the end of today's lesson, the Educational Assistant in my classroom said that the lesson was too abstract for most of the students. I thought about that after the student's had left for the day. The problem was abstract for a reason. If I had given the students the size of the stream, they would probably have just added up the numbers and been done, but without the numbers the students had to devise a model of what they might do.

One student decided that if you threw something (a calculator was what she had) into the river you could count how many seconds it would take for it to hit the bottom and then you would know how deep the river was. Another child chose to measure using base 10 blocks. She said the river must be 20 units deep. The twenty might be arbitrary, but she didn't label it in a standard measure, but rather units because she said she didn't know what unit to use because she was only making a model.

You could change the problem and give the dimensions of the stream and ask students how they would get over the bridge if you felt it was too hard, but listening to the reasoning, I was glad I had chosen not to give students the numbers. They had to think outside the box and several of them also realized that you can't just type numbers into the calculator to get an answer if you don't know what the numbers are.

If I wanted a definite answer of how deep and how wide, then the problem was too hard, if not impossible, but because I wanted students to stretch their thinking about using math, I would use the problem again. Common Core Standards want children to be able to think about math, and to understand how math tools are used, and I think this lesson did both of those things.

*Is It Too Hard?*

*Is It Too Hard?*

# What Can We Do With Math

Lesson 9 of 9

## Objective: SWBAT choose appropriate math tools to solve a math problem set.

#### Getting Started

*10 min*

Today I want my students to develop their capacity as life-long learners. Rather than “transmit” information to students, I’m seeking to engage in “transactional” experiences with them. In a transactional experience, students are “doing it for themselves”, not “just doing it for school”.

I put a simple word problem on the board and ask students to solve the problem in their math journals. I read the problem aloud so that any nonreaders will have the equal opportunity to solve the problem as readers. I want students to make sense of the problem and work to solve it (MP1).

I read: "There are 6 insects under the first rock and 16 under the second rock. How many insects are there in all?"

Students solve the problem. I ask for a thumbs up to show that everyone is done, or has at least started the problem. Now I ask for a volunteer to tell us and or show us on the board how he/she solved the problem. Once they are done I ask if anyone has done the problem differently? I ask them to share their strategy as well. I comment on the fact that there is more than one way to solve a math problem.

*expand content*

#### Solving A Problem

*20 min*

Before I begin this lesson, I put a variety of resources out on the table. I put out clocks, coins, rulers, measuring cups, a scale, paper, pencils, base 10 blocks, scissors, tape, glue and crayons. I hope that students will be able to choose the appropriate tool for the task (MP5) and develop student problem solving skills. This lesson is not as much about computational skills as it is about problem solving. I am hoping that students can think about how they might measure the stream, and what kind of tools they might employ to show that measurement (2MDA.1)

While the students are still at their desks, I tell them that today they will work in small groups of 3 or 4 students to solve a problem using all the math tools that they need. I show them what I have put out on the table and tell them that if they think of other tools they need, they can just ask.

We review the classroom rules for group work. These include respect the ideas of others, take turns practice kindness.

I have the problem copied on a pieces of paper and I also have it to project on the Smart Board (or you can write in on an easel).Stream Problem.

I read the problem aloud to the students and tell them that they will work in their small groups to solve the problem. I divide the students into groups and give each group a place to work.

Students work for about 15 minutes and I circulate around the room listening to groups and asking probing questions to keep the groups moving forward.

*expand content*

#### Closing Share

*10 min*

Each group is given a few minutes to share their solution to the problem. Students may ask questions of other groups to clarify their own understanding. Students can just tell us about their solution, or they can show us using drawings or manipulatives.

*expand content*

- UNIT 1: What and Where is Math?
- UNIT 2: Adding and Subtracting the Basics
- UNIT 3: Sensible Numbers
- UNIT 4: Sensible Numbers
- UNIT 5: Everything In Its Place
- UNIT 6: Everything in Its Place
- UNIT 7: Place Value
- UNIT 8: Numbers Have Patterns
- UNIT 9: Fractions
- UNIT 10: Money
- UNIT 11: The Numbers Are Getting Bigger
- UNIT 12: More Complex Numbers and Operations
- UNIT 13: Area, Perimeter and More Measurement
- UNIT 14: Length
- UNIT 15: Geometry
- UNIT 16: Getting Ready to Multiply
- UNIT 17: Getting Better at Addition and Subtraction
- UNIT 18: Strategies That Work

- LESSON 1: Is This Math or Isn't It?
- LESSON 2: Going on a Math Hunt
- LESSON 3: Math Hunt Part 2
- LESSON 4: Classroom Math Tools
- LESSON 5: Walking the Number Line
- LESSON 6: Identifying Coins
- LESSON 7: What Time Is It?
- LESSON 8: Can You Measure It?
- LESSON 9: What Can We Do With Math