Thursday, September 12, 2013

Starter Problems for Flexibility with Numbers

Wednesday we discussed ways to "start" addition problems. We began by just focusing on the largest place because the kids agreed that was the easiest to add first. Then we looked at what was left. One of the kids suggested we move parts of the numbers from one number to the other. I, of course, questioned this idea. I find that my best lessons happen when I act like I have no idea what they're talking about! When I start questioning their thoughts, some kids will second-guess themselves. But this little guy held firm and insisted it would work. I was so proud of him! I made him prove it to me on the board, which he did, and the other kids felt comfortable backing him up after they'd seen proof. ;) We did several examples of this, then moved to doing this with money. The kids haven't had much exposure to adding decimals of much size, so this way of thinking was very helpful for them!

For me, the most important outcome of this lesson (and I mention it A LOT during the lesson) is that the children learn to think flexibly with their numbers. This is why I love math! In no other subject can you change up what you're given to make the outcome easier to figure out! The sooner we learn to think this way, the easier harder operations will become!!