Math Exlemplars (Problem Solving) Part I

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I love math! I love teaching math and reading about math. I wasn’t always a math person. I used to be a reading/ writing person. I even have my Masters with a certification in reading. But somewhere along the way, things changed (Thanks Gael!)

I love teacher different strategies and seeing the light bulbs bling on when a student finally gets a concept. I love using dry erase boards with my kids for quick assessments and for fun. I love using math videos in the classroom. It makes me πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

One thing I love doing with my kids is Math Exlemplars or as I call them, Math Investigations. Have you done this with your kids? The minute I say we are doing a math investigation, the cheers start.

For this investigation, I took it easy on the kids. We just got back from spring break. Looking back, I probably should have chosen a more challenging problem.

To start, you introduce a challenging word problem to the kids.
Emersion Work:
Time: 10-15 minutes (sometimes a bit more)
-Read the Math Investigation to the class
-Review problem
-What do we know from the problem?
-What do we want to know? What is it asking us to find?
-What do the following words mean…
-How does this problem relate to the math topics we have been leaning about the unit?
-Students try to solve the problem on their own for 10 minutes. (I usually give a little more time.)

Sometimes I am so surprised over the words the kids are unsure about. The words from today’s problem were poked and bulb.
Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.33.55 PM

After the students solve the problem independently, you pair the kids up by like strategies. They don’t necessarily have to have the same answer, but they should have the same method or strategy.

Day 1:
Teaching Point: Mathematicians will solve a math investigation by discussing and working out strategies with a partner or group.
Time: 75 minutes (or however long you have. :))
-After the students are paired up by strategies, review the problem again.
-Students work out the problem together. This promotes the Mathematical Practices. It is great to walk around the room and hear the kids arguing over whose answer is right and why.
I give the partnership one piece of paper so they can work the problem out together.
I also give each partnership a rubric to refer to while working on the problem.
Once the students feel they are finished, they create a math poster showing how they solved the problem
-As the students are working, I walk around the room and ask guided questions: Why are you using this strategy? Does this make sense? What in this problem told you to…? and similar questions.

Here is the rubric (Thanks Lauren.)
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Here is the conference note sheet I use (Thanks again Lauren!.)
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Here are some of my kids’ posters. It’s amazing to see the different strategies.
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Come back tomorrow for Math Investigations Part II – A gallery walk and making revisions.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think. Have you done math investigations with your kiddos? Do you think this would be something you might try?

One thought on “Math Exlemplars (Problem Solving) Part I

  1. Pingback: 2ndGradeRockStars.com | Guided Math: Chapter 2

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