Learning about stations

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SWBAT use stations to support their learning

Big Idea

Using stations in class is a great way to work with the students in small groups while still engaging them in mathematical problems.


15 minutes

I’m going to be using a worksheet from  Step-by-Step problem solving (Schaffer, pg34-35).  I chose this worksheet because we’ve been working with mathematical practices and this one supports MP1 and MP5.  The students will be using the guess and check approach to find a solution.  While using this approach, the students will be implementing MP 1 by finding a starting point for the problem.  This means they will need to think about a good, reasonable numbers to use to get to their solution.  Additionally, a table is a useful tool to use to keep track of their attempts.   Students should begin working independently, then they can work with a partner to coordinate ideas. 

Introduction to Stations

20 minutes

I will begin this section by talking about the importance of Stations. Before getting students into stations, I create the groups myself.  I use 2 different groupings:  Homogenous grouping and Learning styles.  In the beginning of the year I give the students a learning inventory survey to have them assess their learning style.  You can get a learning inventory for free online.   The homogenous grouping is based on 5th grade test scores, at first.  I make changes to this throughout the year.  For today, I will assign random groups to stations.

Stations include:

  • Working  in small groups
  • re-teaching
  • Working at their own pace and level
  • independent thinking
  • different learning styles
  • technology
  • hands-on math


Then, I will be discussing with the students what happens at each station.  On  a regular day, there will be 3 stations:  Teacher work stations, Independent work stations, and a computer work station.  Each station will be approximately 20 minutes in duration.  Stations will be part of our weekly routine.  There will be anywhere between 1 and 3 stations per week.

Teacher work station will include small group time to reinforce/extend current learning. This will be a time to ask the teacher questions you have not wanted to ask. Work on problems that are still puzzling you.  Extend your learning as needed. 

Independent work station will include games, hands on math, versa-tiles, task related questions.  During the independent work station, you may solicit the help of your team, but all work should be done on your own, without the assistance of a teacher.  With that said, problems in the independent work station should be designed around the ability of the students.  I like to give them material that they have already mastered. Today I will be showing the students how to use versa-tiles. 

Computer work station includes a number of websites that have fun and engaging activities to do that reinforce current learning. Access to the computer station will be given to you by the teacher before the station activity begins.  Students will be required to only work in the website assigned by the teacher.  I like to use the following websites:






Modified Station Rotation

35 minutes

This will be a modified station rotation (11 minutes/3 rotations)

Teacher work station:  Today the students will be using white boards and markers and we will be working on rounding/estimating.  I will be giving them some problems and having them round to the nearest place value.  I’m using this content because this is something they should come to me knowing from 5th grade. 

 Independent work station:  The students will be working on rounding with versatiles.  Versatiles are a great asset to the independent work area because they allow the students to self check.  If this isn’t available to you, you can have the students work on flash cards, basic math skills, or something like that.  Remember, this is only getting their feet wet!

Computer work station:  Today the students will be using the IXL website.

They will be working with place value.  Again, this is a task they can complete on their own .  It is important that they get a feel for how this all works. 



15 minutes

I’m going to have students write me a short letter describing their strengths and weaknesses in math.  This will give me some insight into their math ability.  It also sets the tone for future math classes that they will be required, at times, to write in math.  Writing in math is a great way to reflect on learning and a great way to show what you know and how you know it!


Collect these letters, read them and place them in student files for future reference.