What Can We Do With Math

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SWBAT choose appropriate math tools to solve a math problem set.

Big Idea

Students have been exposed to a variety of math tools and uses. Do students know how to access these tools independently when they are faced with a problem to solve?

Getting Started

10 minutes

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.

Solving A Problem

20 minutes

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.

Closing Share

10 minutes

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.