Posted by: jwhiff | July 4, 2018

What Students Bring: Observing During Math Play

You know when you’ve planned this really great lesson and you place those colourful, hands-on materials in the middle of each group and the kids just dig in and start building a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with your lesson?

We all anticipate this, right? A lot of wise teachers actually make sure they allow for some of this free play at the start of lessons. Why fight it?

You can actually build a really useful math routine around this natural urge to play.

Ever heard of math talks? You know- you place up an image of something in the real world like a couple of full egg cartons and you lead a discussion on the math that the kids notice? It’s a great routine. This just builds on this routine.

All you need to do is snap pictures of the things the kids are building while exclaiming “Woah! It’s so weird, but I’m noticing a lot of interesting math in the things you are building! Did anybody else notice this?”

Then you load up the images and show them one by one on the screen. Check it out! Leah! Did you realize your were making math this whole time? Crazy! Can anyone tell what kind of math Leah was making?

And they are in! The kids want to astound everyone with their math creations. You just need to pay close attention and order up some serious investigations when something interesting comes up.

This is a perfect intro to math at the start of the year. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

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