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Monday, April 25, 2016

Focus on a Small Number of Big Questions and Problems in Math

As I think ahead to how I'll tackle the math teaching and learning next year, I want to center on about 10 big questions or problems--one for each unit of study.

As I think about this, I'm beginning to brainstorm a number of questions/problems, then I'll choose the best questions/problems to lead the learning.

Some of the questions I have come up with so far are the following:

Who are We?
As we discuss who we are as a learning team of students, teachers, and family members, we'll think about the ways that we can collect and analyze data to create an infographic of who are learning team is. Then we'll draw from that data all year.

What are the digits? What do we know about the digits and what can we do with them?
As we review basic computation, multiple algorithms, math facts, and order of operations, we'll explore the world of the digits 0-9. We did that this year and it laid a nice foundation for the work ahead. This study also provides a terrific way to introduce multiple math tools including rulers, calculators, and coordinate grids.

How does the base ten system behave?
We'll explore the "behavior" of the base ten system in multiple ways, and hopefully work to make models and code animations that demonstrate this behavior.

What's the difference between whole numbers and fraction/decimal parts?
We'll look at the relationships between and amongst whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. We'll explore where and why we use the various number types and how we manipulate these numbers using many operations and algorithms?

I am just starting to explore the use of big questions to lead each math unit. I am not satisfied with these questions, but will continue to brainstorm more about this as I consider the strength and areas for growth with regard to this year's teaching and learning in math.