Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Support Math: Day 6 - Students bring Qs to Circle and Number Talks!

Today was our third day of talking using the circle format.  Yesterday I had a couple "Would You Rather" questions to get the discussion going.  Today, trying to slowly share ownership of the circle, the students brought in the "Would You Rather" questions.  I was scared about appropriate questions, and kids forgetting to come up with questions.  Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

We started with a quick check in round, again completed with one-word answers.  Then each student got to ask one "Would You Rather" question to the circle.  Everyone answered, and then the next student asked their question.  It led to some great conversations.  The answers were a little shorter than I would have predicted, but still fun.  I tried to model giving longer answers, the kids just laughed at me for being weird.

We then went into a number talk.  The number talk was again from Visual Patterns.
The students focused on the number of triangles.  I found it very surprising how easy it was for students to miss the triangles with the point down.  For example, they kept counting three triangles in figure 2.  Which is fine.  It leads to a nice triangular number pattern.  However, the pattern is easier to generalize if you count all the triangles.  The students picked up on the pattern quickly, but struggled to reach a formula.  We did get there, but it took awhile.  

I cannot overstate how these number talks based on patterns has helped the students in their 8th grade math class this week.  In their regular math class we have started studying linear relationships.  I always do this by starting with patterns.  The students who are in support math have developed a comfort with patterns that is letting them engage in the linear patterns with more confidence.  

Preteaching some skills using support math is a highly valuable practice I will try to use more this year.

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