Monday, November 3, 2014

Mathematicians at Work

I wanted a time during the day that the students could engage in mathematical activities that would support our previous learning in class.  Throughout the years I have tried many types of math stations/centers/rotations and many have worked very well.  This year I wanted to form partnerships in which mathematical understandings and discussions could take place at a deeper level. In the past, I think students thought they were just playing games rather than applying the strategies and understandings they have gained during our lessons. When students are grouped in twos, I feel that it is easier for both voices to be heard.  At the beginning of the year I had 22 students and wanting groupings of 2, that left me with 11 different activities.  I also knew that I wanted to give this time a title that was a reflection of what they really were doing.  So rather than centers or stations we called it Mathematicians at Work.

I am blessed to have a lot of time for mathematics...a full 75 minutes!  If our time was allotted differently I would tighten everything much more (see alternate schedule below).

Our schedule:
10 minutes - Number Talks
10-15 minutes -  Mini-lesson
20 minutes - Guided/Independent Practice
20-30 minutes - Mathematicians at Work (Small groups/Conferring)
5-10 minutes - Share

Alternate schedule:
5 minutes - Number Talks
10 minutes -  Mini-lesson
15 minutes - Guided/Independent Practice
20-25 minutes - Mathematicians at Work (Small groups/Conferring)
5 minutes - Share 

Here is what I have included in our Mathematicians at Work during our place value unit:

Click on the link to pick up all of these here: MathematiciansatWorkActivities

For this activity you will need numbers written on small bits of paper and crumbled up.

The materials needed for Monster Math are a small box, a spinner and 10 bottle caps.  Write numbers 0-9 on the bottle caps and place in small box.  Write 10 more, 10 less, 100 more, 100 less on spinner and you are ready!

I quickly made targets three targets, one for hundreds, another for tens and the last for ones.  I printed on different colored paper and  bought googly eyes.

 This activity is based off Bozo's Grand Prize Game. You will need small buckets (or any container), some post-its to label and ping-pong balls.  Write numbers on the ping-pong balls.

This activity was part of a freebie from last year.  Click on the link to pick it up:  Adding and Subtracting with Place Value

This is a great activity that gives me a lot of information about each learner.  They take turns being the teacher.  I get to hear their mathematical talk, hear how they formulate questions, watch them coach students, see their accuracy with problem solving and hear all about strategies.  The students LOVE this activity!

Get a deck of cards or two.  Write numbers on the jacks, queens, kings, aces, etc. and it is all set.  On this particular day, one student was absent so their partner joined in to play War.

You will need two cookie sheets, two tops and print out a grid of numbers on two papers.

You can tell that Mathematicians at Work have simplistic activities but the students really do get to apply their understanding of the concept.  Everyday we change to a new activity.  Once we finish a rotation we do it one more time.  So it last for 22 days...which is super nice for planning and preparing.

The other great thing about Mathematicians at Work is that I get time EVERY SINGLE DAY to meet with small groups or confer with my students.  I am very clear about where they are in math because I have the time to listen and understand.  For more about my small groups: Math: Guide Groups, Games and Resources.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a practical blog post for how to organise a numeracy block - thank you!