More and more I'm becoming convinced that the way to get kids to understand (really, thoroughly, completely) is to get them to communicate their thinking. All of the professional development I've had the opportunity to take during my year and a half as Numeracy Lead Teacher has pointed me in that direction.
At a workshop this week, the participants were asked to look specifically at three of the six goals that our province has set out for mathematics instruction, which are:
One activity to meet these goals would be to simply arrange the students into small groups or pairs, and ask them to list all of the ways they can think of to solve a mathematical equation. I'd like to take it a step further and ask them to use technology to gather and sort their ideas. Once they're convinced they've got all the ways they can think of, have them present their ideas to the rest of the class. In the picture above, I've used the app Popplet to record some possible ideas students may generate. Once the popplet is created, it can be shared through the iPad and an LCD projector, or saved as an image or pdf and emailed to the teacher, or saved to Dropbox.
The last step could be to make a list of all the strategies the students have discovered as a whole class and sort them by least efficient to most efficient. There's sure to be some good debate going on there!
Communicating, reasoning, efficiency, mathematical literacy and thinking critically, while integrating mathematics and technology. What a lesson! And all from one equation.
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher