Reflection: Pacing Naughty Zombies - Section 2: Number Talk


After doing Number Talks for a couple of years now, I find that they work best when limited to 15 minutes or so. Students start to lose interest and I like to keep the energy up since it is a mental math activity. I don't want to stretch it out so long that students are no longer doing the math & listening to each other. Everyone is not expected to share strategies, so it is sometimes hard to tell when they are participating and whether they have 'checked out'. The whole point is to get them to value each others thinking and then use all the multiple methods to help them make connections to related and foundational mathematics. 

One way to extend the learning from the Number Talk is to then move on to an exploration of some of the patterns or relationships they have discovered during the mental math. In this case I would stop the Number Talk after the first part (after 14x16 or 17) in which they are using distributive over addition. Then I would turn it over to the the class with a question like:

If we knew the answer to 8x20, how could we use the same pattern we found in the Number Talk to figure out the answer to 8x19? I would also ask them to sketch an area model to support their reasoning.

Or I might ask them to draw a model for 8x20 on their white board and then discuss in their math family groups how they could use it to figure out what 8x19 equals.

This moves the activity from just a few people sharing ideas and everyone else listening to everyone discussing and listening to the big ideas of how distributive property relates to subtraction.

  Pacing: This is really too long for a number talk
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Naughty Zombies

Unit 3: Equivalent Expressions
Lesson 17 of 23

Objective: SWBAT distribute multiplication over subtraction and use it as a strategy to solve math mentally.

Big Idea: Students will see the relationship between area models and using the distributive property with subtraction.

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Math, Expressions (Algebra), area model, Mental Math, distributive property with variables, white boards
  54 minutes
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