How Much Money in the Bowl?

This lesson write-up is for any 5th or 6th (or 7th) grade teacher who wants students to explore decimal concepts and refine decimal operations while exploring a compelling task that is engaging and accessible to all learners. Using an image from Andrew Stadel’s Estimation 180 page, students estimate, investigate, and then calculate the value of a bowl full of coins and demonstrate learning for 5.NBT.2, 5.NBT.7, and 6.NS.3. The write-up contains a lesson pathway with specific questions and instructional 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 get better together.

Fostering “Mathusiasm” with Jo Boaler’s Task “How Close to a 100?”

Good to have you back math nerds!  And if you’re just checking in for the first time, welcome! I had the opportunity to spend a day working with 10 elementary instructional coaches and reflecting on our work this year in the math classroom.  At one point, a colleague called another colleague a “rat bastard!” Now that’s a successful PD, […]

The Freakonomics of Professional Development: How Do We Put the “D” Back in “PD”?

Yes, Allen, I am talking about practice. On my drive back from NorCal to Venice, I listened to some Freakonomics podcasts.  My head exploded.  I’d like to tell you about it. They’ve been doing a series on the research about self-improvement, productivity, growth mindsets, and grit.  In a sense, what does it take to expand and maximize your […]

The Power of a Mathematical Mindsets and Rethinking the #ClassroomClock

Hello Math Fans!  Welcome back. I’m currently reading Jo Boaler’s new book Mathematical Mindsets and I’m looking for bookclub buddies, so I’d love to know if you’re reading it and how it’s supporting your thinking and work.  I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section or reach me on Twitter (@mathgeek76). If you’re not reading it, […]

The Powerful Phrase: “…in a way that makes sense to you.” (Part 1)

I had the opportunity to work with several K-5 instructional coaches last week during a one-day workshop on increasing student engagement and discourse in the math classroom.  (My favorite workshop to lead!)  Leadership in the district is making a focused effort to support teachers in their practice of creating classrooms where Math Practice 3 thrives and students are […]

Numberless Word Problem 1: Division in the 3rd Grade

I had the pleasure of working with 2 amazing 3rd grade teachers last week.  They had the usual concerns and frustrations about teaching word problems and were eager to find a better way to get their kids enthused and engaged.  So, we chose to do something different.  And I’d like to tell you about it. […]