Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Math Investigations Take Practice and Protocol

Today I facilitated a math investigation. Years ago we adopted The Investigations math series which really opened my eyes to great, deep math teaching. It's been a while however since we used that curriculum, and we drifted away from investigations a bit. Recent reading and research has turned me back to the directions of investigations and today I tried one.

What I liked about it was the floor-ceiling stretch the investigation of finding the numbers with the most common factors between 1-100 created. I also liked the fact that students were looking for pattern and rules to apply to any group of numbers in order to find numbers with greatest numbers of common factors. One team found an amazing set of rules that could be applied to numbers 1-200 and likely beyond.

What I found challenging were the following points:

  • Students need greater practice with regard to the dispositions needed to work on an investigation with classmates.
  • I need more practice with clearly communicating the challenge to all students and supporting that challenge.
I'll continue to work on this in the days ahead. It's clear that to engage in investigations is a better way to solidify knowledge, skill, and concept, and finding good investigations to match the standards is the next step. I'll use Boaler's book and website as a resource for this.