Two Engaging Proportional Reasoning Tasks

I hope that there are other 6th (and 7th) grade teachers out there that might find this analysis useful if they are looking for ways to increase student engagement, thinking, and discourse around percents, fractions, and proportional reasoning standards. This engaging learning opportunity can be used at the beginning of a unit as an inquiry-based exploration and pre-assessment. It can also be used as a way of assessing student learning in the middle or the end of a unit. It’s a low-floor opportunity that allows for students at all levels to participate. It also allows for rich discussion and sense-making because solutions can be reached via multiple strategies.

A Bright Idea for 2nd Grade Addition Strategies

It’s my hope that there are other elementary teachers out there that might find this analysis useful if they want to use this compelling and fun lesson by Graham Fletcher in their classrooms to engage their students in exploring addition strategies with regrouping (2.NBT.5, 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.9). This engaging lesson is very open in the middle. Students have a wide variety of addition strategies they can use including concrete models (base-10 blocks, place value discs, etc) and abstract strategies (arrow method, decomposing, bar method, etc).

Using Tile Problems to Introduce Fractions and Create Intellectual Need

I had a chance to use Steve Wyborny’s tile images as a part of a 3rd grade lesson inquiry. The tile problems are an effective tool to engage students in discourse about their mathematical reasoning. Furthermore, it allows teachers to identify student misconceptions about partitioning and calculating area. These misconceptions often prevent students from understanding how to use the area model to reason about fractions (3.NF.1).

Knotty Rope 3-Act: Introducing Division in 3rd Grade

This lesson write-up is for teachers who want to engage their students in exploring division reasoning and problem solving strategies (3.OA.2, 3.OA.3 and 3.OA.7). It’s appropriate to use before and/or after students have explored division and allows for many different conceptual approaches to a solution including using repeated subtraction or repeated addition, equal groups with or without manipulatives, number lines, arrays, bar models, and multiplication or division equations to model a real world problem.

This write-up contains a lesson pathway with specific questions/moves to consider, analysis of the opportunities for student learning, and other wisdoms and insights we learned from teaching this lesson as a part of a lesson inquiry.

Give it a try with your own students. And then tell me how it went. Let’s make it better together.

What would put on a billboard? #TT4T

Billboards have been around for centuries. They’re effective at creating a message for political, social, or economic purposes. Many of us have some sort of small billboard in front of our classrooms. Sometimes they’re inspirational messages or quotes. Sometimes they express a value or a classroom norm about how people should be treated. Sometimes they are content specific, sometimes not.

Tools of Titans for Teachers Book Study (#TT4T)

I’m going to start a book study, and I’d like you to join me. Waitwaitwait!!!! Don’t go anywhere. I’m not asking for much. Because this is a book study where you don’t actually have to read the book.

I’m reading Tim Ferriss’s book Tools of Titans. I’ve found his incredibly enlightening podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show” to be filled with ideas that can relate to the professional development of teachers and to the creation of a productive learning culture in the math classroom. His book is no different.

Join the #TT4T conversation!

Video of Think Like A Fitbit: Measure What We Value

Here’s a link to Think Like A Fitbit: Measure What We Value, my Ignite! talk from CMC South given November 4th, 2016 in Palm Springs.

Feel free to download and share with others. I’m particularly curious how you are able to use this video in your own PD sessions with teachers to further professional growth for all math educators. What conversations does it create? What cognitive conflict does it spark? What change and instructional shifts does it inspire?

Comments are encouraged; feedback welcomed. Let’s keep the dialogue going.

Think Like a Fitbit: My Ignite! Talk Resources

Welcome back math nerds! And if you’re new to Undercover Calculus, WELCOME! I gave an Ignite! talk at the California Math Council’s conference in Palm Springs. It was called “Think Like a Fitbit: Measure What We Value.” It was an honor to be asked to speak, and I was grateful for the opportunity.

It’s challenging to frame an inspiring argument with enough specific detail so that the call to action is, you know, actually actionable.

So, if you came to my talk and want to know more about these ideas, here are some resources. I hope they further your thinking as much as they’ve furthered mine. If you missed my talk, fear not! I’ve attached a recording of the slide show and attached the movie at the end of this post. Just scroll down. Or you can stream the video of my actual talk on Vimeo.