I did want to share out what my students and I did Friday in math because you might want to give it a try. A coworker who taught third grade did a problem with her students, and they had all sorts of trouble with it. I was pretty convinced mine would too-so I gave it a try. Boy was I right! Here it is.
Oh. My. Goodness.
I asked the students to work independently on the problem and then we gathered to share out what we got for our answers.
Oh. My. Goodness.
First, I spent a little time asking them what we KNEW FOR SURE about the problem and they were pretty easily able to tell me the following:
Kim has more than Joe ($120 more to be exact)
Together they have $840
So far so good--right? Oh. My. Goodness.
Here's what I recorded.
Seriously! Look at all the answers they got! I was crushed! I reviewed AGAIN what we knew for sure and we methodically checked off those solutions that were not possible. Lots of "ohhhhhh" filled the room and we came to the correct solution. Based on some of the comments the students made, I could TELL that we weren't really getting it. We did some modeling with counters using much smaller numbers to show that simply taking off of one pile and adding on to the other wouldn't work (I used "Kim and Joe had 10 candies. If Kim has two more than Joe, how many do each have?). Students REALLY wanted to split the candies into two piles, and then take 2 counters off of one pile and add them to the next!
I was pretty sure this helped a few more--but there were still some pretty empty looks! What I did then was to quickly whip up the following problem:
I split the class in two groups and half worked on the word problem (they could work in teams if they wanted) and the other half worked on an amazing patterning resource from Miss Math Dork. My students are currently in our "algebra thinking and patterning" unit and I found these nifty pattern sort cards--with three levels built in!
My students worked in pairs to try to match up the Tier 1 cards--and those groups who got it then moved on to the next set and the next set! They really enjoyed it--and it was the perfect amount of challenge. Check them out!
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