Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Moment on Math


Following are some snippets about math I've gleaned from various places on the Internet.  Leave a comment below to add one of your best math procedures or ideas.  

 Oregon teacher, Jane Osborne, uses this game to work with her students to develop understanding of number bonds.  "I ended up taking three hula hoops one year to add in a more kinesthetic approach.  I took 10 students at a time and rolled the dice. 4 of them moved into one hula hoop and the other 6 crowded into the other. Then we got back together as a group of 10, I rolled the dice again, and we split into two pairs again. It really took 4 rounds of this moving in variations of 10 before many of them finally got it. But it sure did pay off in future lessons!"

The National Research Council book, Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics defines procedural fluency as the "knowledge of procedures, knowledge of when and how to use them appropriately, and skill in performing them flexibly, accurately, and efficiently."  Students need to know their math facts and to think in order to apply appropriate procedures when solving math problems.

On the subject of timed math facts tests:  "Do not subject any student to fact drills unless the student has developed an efficient strategy for the fats included in the drill...Drill prior to development of efficient methods is simply a waste of precious instructional time," (Van DeWalle, John A. Elementary and Middle School Math).


Number sense plays a critical role in a student's math development and especially with their success with higher-level mathematics.  Is it really that big a deal?  Consider this.  "Lack of number sense has led to more catastrophic errors, such as the Hubble Telescope missing the stars it was intended to photograph in space. The telescope was looking for stars in a certain cluster but failed due to someone making an arithmetic error in the programming of the telescope" (LA Times, 1990).