Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Teddy Bear Picnic - Section 2: Opening Discussion


One strategy I used to make sure students understand the rather abstract concept of "equal" was to connect it to a word they know (and love): "Fair". Every first grader has said, "That's not fair" at some point in their lives, so it is a great concept to connect to. It is worth noting that often teachers have to explain that "fair" doesn't always mean equal when it comes to classroom culture issues (some students need more time with the teacher, which is fair, but not equal). If that is the case in your room, then definitely state that fair and equal mean something very precise when it comes to math!

When I showed the unequal shares of one paper, I would pretend one part was for me and one part was for another student. Then I would say, "Is this fair?" When students vehemently said no, I said, "If it isn't fair, then it isn't equal. Equal shares mean me we both get the same amount". 

This helped students understand the meaning of fair, but I also made sure that they didn't use fair later on when we discussed it. I reinforced the academic vocabulary: equal. Common Core emphasizes students using and understanding these academic terms. 

  Connection to Prior Knowledge: "Fair"
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Teddy Bear Picnic

Unit 12: Parts of a Whole
Lesson 3 of 5

Objective: SWBAT divide shapes into 4 equal parts.

Big Idea: Go back to the picnic and have students show how to divide a shape into fourths!

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