Reflection: Student Ownership The Number Line Project, Part 2: Two Dimensional Number Lines - Section 4: Part 2: Work Time and Next Steps

I enjoy circulating as kids work, and looking over their shoulders to see how they're doing.  When they get to the multiplication table, students will often start like this.  When this happens, it's important to get kids thinking about the significance of what they've done.  It feels natural, they'll say, just to take care of the "easiest parts" first.  "So what makes this column easier," I'll ask, pointing to the 10's, "than the 12's column?"  Then, we're able to discuss that familiarity can make anything feel easy, and that some patterns are just more memorable than others.  Both points are worthy of our attention as we embark on an Algebra 1 course!

Along similar lines, here is similar work from another student.  She already self-identifies as someone who isn't very good at math, and to her, the gap in the middle of her multiplication table was evidence to that end.  Now, my kids know that I like to snap pictures of their work while they do it (for this project, among other reasons), so she wasn't surprised when I admired what she'd done and grabbed my camera.

What was particularly exciting today, however, was that I had the picture of her work up on the front board minutes after taking the it, and I made sure to tell the whole class how important I considered this work.  "This is such an important diagram of what you know!"  I said.  "Look at how much you know already, and how quickly you were able to get started.  Then look at what's missing: that's what you still have to learn.  And you can!"

I thought this was a great example of exploring the gray area in-between being great at math and not.  Too often students will enlist in one camp or the other, without considering that everyone knows something, and everyone still has something to learn.  The visual provided by this student's work gave me the opportunity to share and discuss a concrete example of that with my class.

Student Ownership: Tangible "Knowledge Gaps"

The Number Line Project, Part 2: Two Dimensional Number Lines

Unit 2: The Number Line Project
Lesson 4 of 9

Big Idea: The mathematical structures we build today will be used to justify many algebraic ideas in the coming months.

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Subject(s):
Math, Measurement, modeling, Number Sense and Operations, proportional relationships, transformation, equation, graph
43 minutes

James Dunseith

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