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Monday, November 02, 2015

Math: Place Value Learning Path

We completed the first unit of the year which reviewed fourth grade concepts and introduced students to many aspects of number study and vocabulary. Now we're digging into the place value unit.

I host units on a web page which helps me to store all good resources and information in one place. As I begin the unit, I look over all the resources to see what I've used in the past. Then as I teach the unit step by step, I review, revise, and refine each piece of the unit. I also add new resources and delete resources that no longer seem valuable or useful.

The big idea of the place value unit is that one time way back in history in India, the base-ten place value system was invented, and this system has served us well for a very long time. I tell students that it's amazing that 10 digits, 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,and 9, can make all the numbers to "infinity and beyond." We then color code and complete the place value 2D model together and analyze 3D models using an animated SCRATCH model and Eames Powers of Ten video. These models lead us to the discussion of the "behavior" of the base ten place value system. We discuss how does this system "behave" as numbers are placed and move up and down the place value chart?

We dig into the details too including how to write the numbers in many ways including standard form, word form, expanded form, expanded notation, and even scientific notation. We use numbers that matter such as population numbers and numbers related to our current space unit. Later when we review rounding, we'll use numbers related to the world's major land and water forms. I'd like to couple that work with map work too to make it relevant. Once students have a firm grasp of the place values and how to write numbers, we'll explore the "behavior" of the base ten place value system more through the lens of the operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

In the end, I hope that we'll couple the Hour of Code with students' opportunity to create animated math models using coding.

In addition to the content related to this unit, I hope to use the unit as a "learning to learn" model too. With each step we'll discuss why we are learning this information and we'll talk about the best ways to learn using multiple hands-on and other blended learning elements. I'll continually discuss the learner's mindset, options, and potential with this unit of study and remark that how we learn this unit can be applied to all units of study.

And, I'll place a word wall up in front of the class using the Frayer cards that last year's students created (You may access those on the web page.) Students will be able to utilize those cards again and again as we talk about place value, solve problems, and complete projects.

The unit is outlined, the initial materials have been collected, and now, let the learning begin!