Communicating in math can be a challenging task. Not only do students have to make sense of a problem, and pull out the important information, but they also have to take their calculations and put it back into the original story/problem (Math Practice Standard #2). We have worked on this skill quite a bit during the first few weeks of school and the students are improving this skill every day.
Now once student groups solved the problem we asked them to share their thinking with their classmates. This is where being precise in our language (Math Practice Standard #6), and constructing reasonable arguments (Math Practice Standard #2) becomes important.
After groups created posters to show their thinking we took a "Math Gallery Walk"; with post-its in hand they read through the work of other groups, thinking about if the work made sense, how the group's strategies were different from their own, etc. Students were now being asked to critique the reasoning of others (Math Practice Standard #3). This was a lot of work, and for some students a new way to work in math! I was so impressed by the thinking of these 5th graders, they stepped up to the challenge!
We gave students some ways to get their post-its started.....
When we were done with this activity, original groups reformed and read through the post-its. During this time they were able to adjust their thinking or explanations if necessary.