For several weeks at our school we have been incorporating number talks into daily practice for all students. As a staff, we have been very impressed by the success groups of students have been having and even more so when we look at the growth of individual student's abilities to discuss how they arrived at their answer. For the past several weeks we have focused on identifying the number of dots and how students make sense of the number they are seeing. We call the ability to identify numbers without counting each one as "subitizing". This has been very powerful in helping students recognize and identify if their response was reasonable.
The idea of reasonableness is a critical way that we know that students have a good understanding of number. Some of our classes have made the move from dots to numbers. This will be a critical move for our students because we are now moving to a representation of the number, rather than a count. This is actually adding a level of difficulty to the process. In order to be able to work with numbers they must understand that the digit (2) represents two and that the 2 in the number 20 actually represents twenty, or two groups of ten. Where the digit occurs in the number completely changes its worth. This is place value, and this is critical when moving into all operations and is the key to estimation, and knowing whether the answer you have come to is reasonable.
Reasonableness is a critical understanding at all grade levels. Our grade 1/2 students are currently working on estimating the number of objects in a container. In order to do so they must understand that their guess must be reasonable and able fit in that space. Younger students might guess very large numbers because it is too many to count, but as students' mathematical reasoning increases, their guesses should become more accurate.
This week's first Math Challenge is about that very thing. I anticipate that it will be interesting to see the guesses that students make and how they defend their answers. Please try this at home with your children. Listen to their strategies and explain your own to them. If their estimates are way off, rather than telling them they are wrong, ask them to tell you why they think their answer is reasonable and listen carefully to how your child is thinking mathematically.
Our second Math Challenge this week was created by Mr. Hawken. It requires estimation and planning. What strategies ensure that you will win the game?
Start a conversation. If you conquer this week's challenge, revisit last week's blog entry. It called for a lot of estimation and some very large scale numbers.
Last Week's Math Challenge
This Week's Math Challenges
The first challenge is not a Low Floor High Ceiling problem. There are, in fact, correct answers. The reason that I chose this challenge is to start some different conversations. This is a slide by Sherry Parrish, who wrote several books about number talk and number sense that teachers are currently using.
These questions are intentionally very challenging. The important learning is in how they approach the challenge, the reasonableness of the estimate, and how their strategies work (or don't work) for these questions.
Choose the set of questions that are a little bit challenging for you. If one set is easy for you, choose a different set.
Wednesday's Game Challenge
To play, two players each choose a different colour. They take turns colouring any uncoloured lines between two dots. The first player to complete a triangle made of only their colour loses.
Reflection time (K-6)
What did I learn from this?
What good ideas did I have or did my partner have to try and solve this?
Does it matter who goes first?
Doodle thinking in journals (K-6
PE FOCUS – Volleyball
Playground schedule - Division 2 on playground before school and at recess and Division 1 on the playground at lunch time.
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Don't forget to check our school website - schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347
Remember to check out our school website - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347