I created a work station that reviews word form, expanded notation, standard form, and building models in numbers up to 1,200. The students can check their work using the QR Codes on each card. Print the cards on card stock, laminate, then cut apart. Click on the picture or the link below to go to the google doc.
The inspiration for this Math Station came from this post http://mrsjumpsclass.blogspot.com/2011/03/zoo-part-2.html .
I thought the anchor chart/whole group activity could easily be changed into an individual or pair activity for a Problem Solving Math Station.
The station includes a instruction sheet and a series of pages for the students to show their work on. The student picks a student sheet. Across the top it says And the Answer is …………. Followed by a QR code. The student then uses an Ipad 2 or Ipod with a camera to read the secret answer. The student comes up with a word problem that fits the answer. The word problem is neatly written on the paper – and the paper can be illustrated. Finally the student will post the problem on a problem solving bulletin board. For the other students to solve. It might even be picked to be spotlighted on our blog. The posting is the main reason I put the answer a QR code. This way other students can try and solve the problem and give feed back about any difficulties solving the problem. One thing I need to emphasize is that we want people to be able to solve the problems. You don’t “win” if your problem is too difficult to understand. There is a link to the center from the picture below.
My goal today in math was to talk to each student about the assessment we had yesterday. I asked them each 3 questions.
- What was the easiest part of the assessment?
- What was the hardest part of the assessment?
- What was the the best activity we did last week? What did you learn from it?
1. The most common answer was division problems. Reason variations on it is easy to break the numbers into smaller pieces.
2. The majority split two ways – The problems with charts, and #8. Honestly #8 was badly written and we should have caught it. It read “Which of the objects below does not have a flat surface (forget some of the wording) that is a rectangle or square. The kids interpetted that to mean does not have a flat surface.
3. Split 2 ways working with the 3D objects, using the cubes do do division.
The post lesson assessment showed an across the board improvement in understanding of the concepts, so I am very happy with that.
The best thing I can do to improve instruction in this area is to get more 3D figures. Also this group is capable of working with more complex figures.
It was interesting watching my students take their Post Unit test. The test was over three units – Division, geometry, and number lines. It was interesting to watch the students as they selected different problem solving strategies. The manipulatives we had used were on the back table. Students could go pick up a set and take it back to their desk. Other students used their dry erase pens to draw on their desk. When we have rotations today – I’m going to ask them about their thinking. I figured out that on average my students score on improved 28 points from their pretest to their post test.
Response to Chapter 1 of Math Work Stations
Math workstations are different from math centers. Stations are more focused on the needs of the students, and are designed to make it easy for the teacher to differentiate for different groups. Students should be engaged in higher level thinking at stations. On challenge I have in a self contained classroom is storing and setting up both literature and math work stations. Another challenge I have is that sometimes if feels like our administration does lip service to the ideas of work stations, but really wants busy work centers. I’ve been told that giving the kids choices leads to off task behavior. In my observation it is 3 or 4 students that are off task. 1 because he thinks he should be able to play in centers. 2 because they lacked confidence to try new things. That attitude has been improving, because making mistakes is not failure in my classroom but a sign you are learning something new. Then there are 2 students that are so far above the others in some ways it is hard to challenge them.
My students are engage by puzzles, they enjoy problem solving it presented as a puzzle. They are becoming more comfortable with the idea that there are many different ways to the correct answer. They are also engaged by contests and technology. They love number battle on the Ipad. They are more comfortable making mistakes on the Promethean Board, so they are more engaged in those activities.
I need to teach more problem solving strategies going beyond what Envision does. My students are held back by the low level of the problem solving lessons that Envision gives them. They need more strategies for higher level problems. They also need to be writing their own problems to challenge classmates with.
My locations work well.
Computers at computers
Ipads in the library area this gives me space to post QR codes.
Promethean at the promethean board. Only problem with this is that kids need to talk and my 1 mile voice kids can be disruptive to the teacher table.
Number sense on the floor at the back of the carpet.
Problem Solving at the Yellow table desks.
Review at the back table/writing center. Since this is going to include several make a movie/Ibook activities for the students to publish having the writing supplies handy will work out.
This is actually a literature station, but students use the Ipads in math stations also.
During the first semester my students worked on addition, subtraction, US Money, place value, and fractions. One problem with math is the skills can be used in isolation. That makes it easy for previously learned skills to become rusty. I wanted a quick an easy way to review skills. Both as a whole group activity and a small group activity. So I made this spiral review. Student choices change up the problems on many pages.
On this page the problem changes depending on which fruit the students choose to buy.
I use these problems as both part of our warm up in the lesson, and as a center. I keep the orginal safe by dragging and dropping slides into other flip books.
To get this flipbook go to
I had one student withdraw over the break. The other 15 were here with bells on. I changed the way we did math. Rather than have the students on the carpet. They are staying at their desks. The reason was I had some cool ideas and kept running into – but that is going to be hard/impossible to do on the carpet. With the students at their desks, they can work together and have a surface for their manipulatives and to write/solve problems.
I think this will keep them more engaged in the activities. Also I can walk around an see what they are doing. They enjoy writing on their desks with dry erase markers.