## Sunday, August 28, 2016

### First Week of Support Math Class

My initial goal is to continually blog about how my support math class for 7th and 8th graders is going this year.  This is the first year in a long time I have taught a support math class for junior high and I am pretty excited about it.  I wrote about my 4 pillars for the class last time.

My first week goal, was to get the kids over the dread of having a second math class.  The typical students in support math are not excited to even have 1 math class, much less 2.

Day 1:  Marshmallow Challenge

The students walked in on day 1 and we quickly went over why we were in the class.  Then we quickly went over the 4 class expectations.
1. No Meanness
2. Make Mistakes
3. ...Yet
4. Ask for Help

I then handed out materials for the marshmallow challenge.  The students were totally engaged.  This is a great problem with a great ending that allows me to again repeat expectation #2 about making mistakes.  It was a great day 1.

Day 2: Bridge Challenge
The second day we reviewed that class goals and expectations then quickly got to another building challenge.  This one involved the following materials for each group:
12 marshmallows
20 straws
1 small cup
50 pennies

the goal was to build the longest bridge that could hold at least 50 pennies that were sitting in a cup.

Overall the kids were just as engaged as day 1.  We did have  small mishap as one group decided to smash up 5 marshmallows to create a paste to stick the straws to the desk.  (Had to leave 10 minutes at the end of the period for cleanup)   I encouraged creativity, and then taking responsibility for clean up for those decisions as well.

Day 3: Number Talk 1 and Build Challenge 3
On the third day, I threw in our first of many number talks.  I grabbed the first pattern of visualpatterns.org.  (seen below)  I just asked the students 2 questions,
1)  What do you notice?
2)  What do you wonder?
For their first time, they handled this pretty well.  They focused more on the noticing, and less on the wondering, but that was expected.  They focused on the number of small squares.  So after some questions about how it is growing, and how many would be in pattern 4, I then asked them to think about how many small squares would be in pattern 10?  They got time to think, and then discuss in small groups.  We then discussed as a class and it went incredibly well for the first number talk.

We then spent 20 minutes on our third building challenge of the week.  They got spaghetti, straws, tape and string and their job was to build out from the desk as long as possible.  To pick a winner I measured from the edge of the desk out to where there structure stopped horizontal to the floor.

It was a creative and fun week!

Next week will see more number talks, and the introduction of circle time.