Reflection: Routines and Procedures Writing arguments - Section 2: Warm up


This discussion was really hard for my students. Explaining and justifying is not something they are used to doing. They are used to the teacher verifying all their answers for them, so the only convincing they have needed is the teacher's confirmation. Many of my students think that math doesn't have to make sense, it just has to be remembered. They are used to just believing something because the teacher said it. So, when I ask them to convince someone they don't always know how to make connections to prior knowledge and explain why something is true. 

Some questions that help them critique and improve these arguments were:

  • "What do we know about this that someone else might not?"
  • "What would someone need to know in order to understand this?"
  • "How would we explain to someone what it means to be proportional here?"
  • "What else do we know that might help someone believe this?"
  • "What else could we show or explain if someone still wasn't convinced?"
  • "How would we explain this to a second grader?"

Something else that would have been really helpful for this discussion would have been changing out the old table top sentence starters they have on their desks for some that would help them more specifically to clarify & critique. Students have become accustomed to using them as a way to conduct productive mathematical discussion, but once they become proficient in the beginning sentence starters it might be time to switch them out for new ones. In addition to helping them have more productive talk they also help them ask important questions about the math. I would explicitly point them out and let them know this is a different kind of discussion than they might be used to having and that the new sentences should make it easier.


  Routines and Procedures: Facilitating collaborative discussions
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Writing arguments

Unit 6: Proportionality on a graph
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: SWBAT make an argument supported by evidence to explain proportionality.

Big Idea: Students will see that there are multiple methods for showing proportionality.

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3 teachers like this lesson
Math, Number Sense and Operations, group work, proportional relationships, proportionality on a graph, argument writing, Critiquing, ratios, pattern
  54 minutes
writing arguments
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