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!

5 comments:

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...

Gosh
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.
:(
Kevin

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!