Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More Math Strategy Work

Today we played a game called Parts and Wholes. With a partner, students took turns hiding a random number of their 18 cubes under a sheet. (The total number of cubes was increased as they became more proficient.) Each student then attempted to use mental math skills to figure out how many cubes were covered, based on how many remained uncovered.
I find this game to be quite interesting and hope that we have more opportunities to play; because this game requires the children to start taking the written strategies we have been using for subtraction and to use them mentally. Having the capacity for efficent mental math is key to being a stellar math matician. And just like any other muscle, your mental math muscle must be strengthed regularly. The wonderful thing is that this activity is a quick and easy 'trick' to stimulate that mental math. I would encourage parents to take advantage of five minutes here and there to ask students similar problems.
I racked my brain and thought of some times your family might sneak in a mental math questions:(For each find the total and then hide or take some away and the child figures out how much you took. (Maybe if they get it right, they can have what was taken as a treat! :))
- eating a snack like M&Ms or pretzles
- playing with legos
- picking up a box of crayons or colored pencils
- looking at change in mom's wallet (just the practice of counting change is VERY helpful)
- collecting mail from the mail box
- reading papers in the homework folder
- reading pages in a book
- playing with a collection of toys
- playing with board game pieces (like checkers)
- minutes on the clock or left till dinner

The key is be creative and share with your child what you think about when you get the answer for yourself.
The following are just two short videos of children sharing their strategy for the game. I hope that soon we will find time to film more and therefore post more for you to see!

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