As promised, we aim to switch up our weekly update format with some blog posts that give you a deeper dive into a particular subject area. A few weeks ago, we took a closer look at Thematics. This week is a share about Mathematics in 3A!
Term 2 began with a review of rounding and estimation strategies. As teachers, we always aim to make grade 3 students’ learning authentic, interconnected, and accessible. Connecting prior knowledge with new learning is a proven method for retaining knowledge for all types of learners, so we asked students about times when they rounded or estimated. We connected strategies with which they were familiar and then set out to complete kinesthetic activities such as traveling through school to find objects they estimated to be about a meter in length or width (integrating with our Thematics unit). When we delved into measurement, students had the opportunity to also make connections using their own bodies as tools when we looked at the length of a millimeter, centimeter, and meter. Skills such as how to round to the nearest ten and hundred were used to solve some real life story problems.
Speaking of story problems, 3A students are reminded to use our Math Checklist (what is the question asking, write an equation, communicate/show my work, label the answer, check my work, etc) each time we solve story problems. Through the use of real life stories, students apply a variety of strategies to solve complex, multistep problems. Communicating our thinking using words, symbols, pictures, and of course, numbers, remains a priority.
Our current work is a close look at multiplication. What is multiplication? How is it expressed in an equation? How does multiplication, an efficient way of adding same-sized groups, help us in our daily lives? What are ways we use multiplication all the time? Where do you see it in the world? These questions, along with skills of skip counting, noticing patterns in multiples, and expressing their thinking process in equations, is work students are currently in the midst of. Our latest project is a connection to the postcards we created in Term 1 — designing our own stamps! Take a look at the photos below to see some of the thinking children did as they made groups of stamps, assigned each a value, expressed quantity in an equation, expressed value in an equation, and finally, designed them. In the end, children shared their work with one another, discerned between “quantity” and “value,” and also saw how arrays work. Differentiation between learners with this type of work can come naturally in the values students choose to assign each stamp, as well as the size of the group of stamps. A little encouragement and facilitation from the teacher is always important, effective, and helpful.
Some of the stamps we designed!
Equations representing value and quantity
Morning Breakfast answer slots
Practicing drawing arrays and writing equations to express them
In last week’s blog post, we mentioned it would also be helpful to skip count at home to support your child’s problem solving abilities. As we spend most of our time at school with true problem solving and real world scenarios, your help with them in this area at home can support their learning and approach when faced with a challenging story problem, situation, or activity. Rather than focusing on the actual skip counting, they can move through their thinking to solve problems with confidence! Last week, students “took control of their learning” by asking themselves, which numbers am I quick with skip counting? Which should I continue to practice? Students also supported each other with practicing them before or after they completed a math activity.
Last week, we also introduce a new part of our morning routine, which we are calling, “Morning Breakfast!” Just as we are ready to start our mornings with a nourishing meal, we felt it would be helpful for our students to get a jump start to their day with a thinking question as soon as they arrive in the classroom. This thinking question will be a way to apply their learning from the previous days or weeks, and will typically come in the form of a multistep problem. For example, yesterday’s question was: “Ibu Anya woke up at 6:30am. It took her 45 minutes to get ready. She left immediately and it took her ten minutes to commute to school. What time was it when Ibu Anya left home? What time was it when Ibu Anya arrived at school?” Another example would be, “How much time do you get for break? When the gong rings at the end of break, we will have 15 minutes for D.E.A.R time. What time will Literacy begin? How much time has passed since the start of break and the end of Literacy?” We aim to connect a variety of mathematical skills (calculating elapsed time, addition, reasoning, for example), in our continued practice of solving real world, multi-step problems. At this age, it is appropriate and important to continue to reinforce the need to read carefully, figure out what the question is asking, access resources (where do I look to find out how much time we have for break each day?), show your work, and label the answer(s) appropriately. Other times, “Morning Breakfast!” might be an activity, questions to access and review information, or a choice of activities, all with similar aims.
Differentiation between learners remains an important goal in our mathematics class. While we move on to new topics, work continues to either reinforce or stretch knowledge of previously introduced material. In 3A, that is telling time, addition, subtraction, and measurement. Through the use of “stations” or “zones” children can continue to work on these skills either in small groups or a one on one setting.
What are some ways you and your children practice math at home? What are some things you would like to see your child be able to do more? How has your child exhibited problem solving capabilities this year? We would love to hear from you!
Monday, Tuesday: Sport and PE
Friday, Dec 1 – No School
Keeping bringing those rain jackets/ponchos/umbrellas! 🙂
Enjoy the photos and have a great weekend!