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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Number Talks

I have to admit, Number Talks are probably one of my favorite parts of the day. So what are they?

At the beginning of math students join me on the carpet without any materials. I will then write a math problem on chart paper. Sometimes it has to do with multiplication, other times fractions, and later this year we will work with fraction and decimal addition and subtraction.

Students think about the strategies they could use to find the solution. Once most of the group is ready I write down the answer(s) that they found. Sometimes we have only one answer (we all agree), but most of the time we have a variety of answers to begin. For this problem students thought the answer maybe 204, 264, or 244.

Students then share their strategy with the group and I will write it down on the chart paper. After students share their strategy, the others can ask them questions or make a comment. This is a fantastic time where students seek clarification or sometimes even challenge the thinking of another student. 

I will sometimes ask if students see connections between the different strategies, but students are just beginning to point these out to the group. 

Fine-Tuning Our Math Justifications

Communication is a big part of mathematics. Today while learning about decimals students were asked to imagine that our number line containing tenths was now divided into hundredths. 

Then we looked at six-tenths (0.6) and wrote how many hundreds this would be. Students came up with three possible answers: 0.06, 0.02, and 0.60. 

Students were then asked to write down on their own slate the decimal equivalent in hundredths to 0.6. Once students decided on a response they met in partnerships defending and justifying their answer.  During the activity students were able to change their response and modify their thinking.
Students met with three different people during this activity.

At the end of the activity the entire class felt convinced that 0.6 is the same as 0.60. We concluded that there are ten hundredths in one tenth; since I have six-tenths, I would have 60-hundredths. 

I was so impressed with our math communication skills during this activity!