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.
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
Frustrated parents sneak ‘old math’ to kids
And as for the concepts-before-procedure argument, she quipped: “Would you want to go to a doctor who’s learned about the concepts but never done the surgery? Would you want your doctor to say, ‘I had the right idea when I removed your appendix, though I took out the wrong one?’ “
Thus, when a parent is asked to multiply 88 by 5, we’ll do it with pen and paper, multiplying 8 by 5 and carrying over the 4, etc. But a child today might reason that 5 is half of 10, and 88 times 10 is 880, so 88 times 5 is half of that, 440 — poof, no pen, no paper.
What struck me as funny about this article is that my mother had the same argument with my teachers but in reverse. She objected to the having to do math in a step by step predetermined formula that did not take into account basic number sense. My mother knew there were many different ways to solve math problems and as long as they were sound and gave me the correct answer she saw no reason not to use them.
My teachers on the other hand were very wedded to the idea that there was one way to solve a division problem. My mother was very adept at mental math. I can remember her adding the cost of an entire basket full of groceries faster than the clerks could punch in the numbers at the register.
I’m glad that our master math teacher presents concepts in multiple manners to the students and allows them to use whenever mathematically sound math method works best for them. This includes the old fashion algorithms parents are used to seeing.