Tuesday, March 11, 2008

more math! slice of life day 11

Algebraic thinking came to me about 6th maybe 7th grade. I'm not sure if I was exposed to it earlier with anything other than an unknown variable a la 42 + ____= 63. It certainly didn't look like: 4x + 2= 3x + 9 in third grade. This is what our students get to work on with Ms. G who comes in once a week for Hands On Equations. I'm seeing and hearing mathematical thinking and organization that I hadn't seen in other units of study. Even if my students can't write a complete sentence because they are learning English, their creative thinking and expression comes out in this class. They are becoming the experts and sharing various ways to isolate x (they don't call it that). They are realizing instead of writing x + x + x + x (4x) they can chunk by using doubles (2x + 2x) or go all they way and multiply! They are building flexibilty in their thinking without even knowing it.

I hope they are building a love for math and mathematical thinking. Some things heard today: "When you take away the pawns from both sides it's like working with a mirror, you have to do the moves equally." "I can check to see if my 'x' is correct lots of ways. I can count each one; I can skip count them, I can multiply them." "I can try lots of numbers for the pawn but I make sure the sides are balanced and equal."

They work hard to line up and match the teacher version of the balance. I think this kind of matching may even help them when tracking on a standardized test. A lot went on in 30 minutes today!


snowflakes said...

That looks like a lot of fun, I wish I was in math again! I always hated it because it did not make sense.

Kevin said...

I wish we could all love to love math, instead of so many of us dreading it.
I wonder why numbers pose such a difficulty for so many people as opposed to letters?
I remember doing very advanced math in college -- discrete mathematics -- that just blew me away with the imaginative universe that I didn't quite knew existed yet was always there.
Our math teacher was forced to move away from hands on math to a page-by-page rote textbook this year. And the pace he is forced to go is leaving tons of our kids in the dust.
They will surely hate math.

Jane Swanson said...

So fun to see inside the math slice of your life!
~jane S

Jane said...

Wow! I am impressed! I would love to learn more about that program.

GirlGriot said...

This is great! It reminds me that I have to replenish our math manipulatives. I used to love working with the balance!

Great slice!