Friday, August 29, 2014

Teaching Math Standard by Standard with Meaning: One Example

What I love about math is that it brings order, and that order allows us to analyze, synthesize, predict, problem solve, imagine, create, and invent.

I want to help students see the potency of math. I want them to understand that math can make sense of complex situations, and help us to move to deeper thinking and powerful creativity.

The math standards are rich and deep. The language is precise, and the learning is substantive and positive.

Yet it takes time for teachers to dig in, learn, and translate these standards to young children with meaning and care.

How will we do this? We'll do it step-by-step and standard-by-standard.  We'll need to check in with our professional learning communities online and offline for accuracy, editing, and ideas--we won't always do it right, but with thoughtful effort, transparency, and the collaboration of the learning/teaching team (students, families, educators, leaders, and community members) we'll approach the mark of mastery for every child.

Today I began to dive into this fifth grade standard:

CCSS.Math.Content.5.OA.A.1 Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols.

I first thought about the work I've done with unpacking the standards and followed the process outlined in the video below:

Next, I began to think about the way I can explain parentheses, brackets, and braces to students. I want to start with a bit of conflict to create curiosity. So I'll start with the problem below and ask students to solve the problem on their own in their math notebook.

Then I'll ask, how could we make this problem easier to solve?  I'm sure that some students will say, "PEMDAS and Add Parentheses."  We'll review PEMDAS quickly using this video:

Then I'll show students the chart below:

I'll then ask students to rewrite the equation adding parentheses, brackets, and braces, and to try to solve again using what they know about PEMDAS.  We'll complete the assignment together after that.

After that I'll review the number project card assignment, and suggest that students try using parentheses in some of the equations they write. I'll give students the chance to review the help page on the math website as well, a page they can use to help them with the homework at home.

Finally, the next day, as a review we'll review parentheses, brackets, and braces with the page below and continue to practice writing equations as we practice number facts with the number card activity.