For Thursday’s computational fluency activities, I chose to use two activities that I have used with the class two or three times before and that they have some practice with the routines. We are working on expanded notation of decimals in our core curriculum. The previous day I had used a Today’s Number activity to guage whether they had transferred over some of the decimal to fraction names and was pleased that some of the students were making the connections.
I wanted to preassess the connections students were making between models, fractions, decimals and expanded notation. I wrote different number values to the thousandths place on a piece of paper for each table and gave them 5 minutes to record as many different ways they could represent the number. Then they did a quick gallery walk. They were able to participate in this activity smoothly and stay engaged in the short timetable they had since it was familiar to them. Today’s examples included more expanded notation than I observed yesterday. One group posted 1.036/1000 and we discussed whether there was a more accurate way to write this number. The target number was 1.036. One student interestingly came up with 1.000 + (.018 x2). Others used expanded notation, a quick accurate model, mixed numbers and fractions.
We then convened at the carpet for a short Ways to Make the Number activity starteing with 28 + 24. Students are familiar with using the signals of 1 finger, 2 fingers, 3 fingers when they have 1, 2 or 3 strategies ready and holding it close to their chest to give others wait time. I loved seeing how Kristin Gray used these routines in the video I have seen of her number talks.
I chose this activity because the student’s computational abilities and strategies vary widely in my classroom. I recorded several students’ stategies and then asked them to add 48 + 26. I used parenthesis to indicate the order they said them in and to reinforce the order of operations from our first math unit. Finally, I asked them how they would solve 48 + 30 if they knew what 48 + 26 was. I recorded two students’ thinking.
The class is really enjoying these activities and I am constantly amazed at some of their number thinking. I have the Inclusion class and even some of my more struggling mathematicians are participating.
I hope that these activities will carry over into more success in computational problem solving.