Every Friday during our Math time, we do something called Math Exchanges. Math Exchanges are meetings of small groups of students who work together and/or alone to solve a math problem. While I work with small groups, the rest of the students do other math activities like working on the computer, playing Everyday Math games and other math activities. We rotate through several sessions of small groups each Friday.
The discussions that we have are the best part of our small group time together. The kids just jumped right in and were willing to tackle tough problems together right from the start. Our most recent problem was:
Our crew parent is making muffins for our Halloween party. She decides to bring the muffins to school in boxes. Each box will hold 10 muffins. How many boxes does she need?
While watching the crew solve these problems, I can learn so much about each student's mathematical thinking. I can see who uses efficient counting strategies, who uses place value to solve a problem, who "thinks in numbers", who works better by drawing a picture, who needs to use blocks or other manipulatives to solve a problem, who can explain their thinking to others and so much more.
I can easily adjust the problems that we work on to make them easier or more challenging for specific students as needed. We will all move through a series of progressively more challenging problems as we go through the year.
If you would like to try some of this type of problem solving with your child at home, take a look at the Bedtime Math website. It has a new set of problems for various age levels every night. Some of them are pretty interesting. (If your child would like to have some counters to help solve these problems, you can use blocks, Legos, coins, buttons or any other type of collection you might have.)
No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some good books with your child.
Our IA (Integrated Arts) class next week is PE. Please help your child remember to wear appropriate shoes.