Sunday, October 9, 2016

6C : Four Digit Challenge

Students in 6th grade are working on solidifying their understanding of the order of operations in mathematics. The class explored why it might be important for a mathematical phrase or sentence to have only one solution. They came to realize that without a set of universal rules to follow, communication would be flawed. It would be impossible ensure that the information you are trying to communicate would not be misinterpreted. 

To extend their understanding, the class was given the "Four-Digit Challenge." They were asked make equations that equaled 0 to 50. The requirements were:

  • the digits 1, 2, 3, and 4 were required to be in each equation
  • each digit could only be used once
  • they could use addition, subtraction, and multiplication (no division)
  • they could use parenthesis and other grouping symbols
  • they could use exponents and square roots
The class was challenged to see if as a group they were able to complete all of the equations from 0 to 50. They broke into groups and set to work. 
I wish you could have been in the room to hear all of the wonderful mathematical thinking that was happening. Here is a small glimpse into the type of collaboration that was happening.

Check back for more on the Four-Digit Challenge!

6C: Group Work Norms

Working in groups and collaborating are not skills that we are born with. We must learn to work together and identify skills that help us to work in collaborative settings. Before we began a group activity, we discussed our prior group work experiences. We could all identify and describe a time when a group activity or project did not go well. 

We took that conversation and turned it into a set of norms that we were all going to strive to achieve when we do group work in math class. Here is the list that was generated.

  • Be inclusive (work to include others in your group)
  • Everybody tries to do an equal part of the work
  • Sharing ideas is helpful 
  • Look at both sides what a person has to share
  • Treat your group members respectfully.
  • Everyone is a leader
  • Balancing stepping up and stepping back
  • Everyone must participate

We acknowledged that these were things we would try to do, knowing that there will be days/times when it is hard for each of us.