Week of September 21 – Whole Number Operations

“What kind of tree can a math teacher climb? A geome-tree!”
– Anonymous

Lessons Learned

This week’s dose of mathematics explores some Whole Number Operations. Our learning session started off with four presentations. We looked at prime factorization, addition, estimation, and place value. The number sense presentation was a great refresher on prime numbers. For addition we focused on mental math strategies such as rounding, regrouping and deconstructing. The estimation presentation was quite engaging and necessarily so because many of us have lost touch with its importance and how to make it relevant in the classroom. The presenter used an online quizzing tool called “Kahoot” (click to explore) which tested our ability to estimate fast and work as a group. Lastly, we saw a presentation on place value. I found the presenter gave us a nice review activity resource called “Place Value Riddles” to challenge students with their place value knowledge.

After the learning sessions, we had more time to explore whole number operations. We were reminded that the ways numbers can be visualized are important to our understanding and ability to use them. Here is a neat number visual we used:

Number Visual

I used some to browse the internet to find a reputable application that involved some whole number operations. I stumbled upon a website called Learning Works for Kids that has a great collection of apps for children. The app I looked at specifically was called Sushi Monster which requires the player to use addition, subtraction and multiplication skills to feed the Sushi Monster with as few mistakes as possible. Reaching the target goal allows the user to move to the next level with slightly more challenging questions. I think this simple app has great potential in the home and the classroom for children to sharpen their whole number operations skills. The game does keep time, so children can challenge their speed, but the answer-based scoring values choosing the correct answer not how fast the user goes. With this is mind, children who still need to use manipulatives can take their time if needed. I also like this resource because it is from Scholastic, a very reputable educational publishing company. Check out more great apps and resources by clicking here.

This is a screenshot I took while playing the Addition Level 2 of Sushi Monster.


Some Reflection

The learning sessions were very enjoyable. It was refreshing to learn about these topics from my peers. The format of the 10 minute mini lessons kept the class engaged and forced the presenter to stay precise and focus on examples rather than lecturing. This format also allows us to get more comfortable teaching concepts that we haven’t reviewed in a while. These mini lessons created an awareness of my gaps in knowledge, but also enlightened me to how fast I can regain an understanding of these simple concepts. As I thought about my role in the math classroom, I was scared of not being familiar with the simple concepts. Now I think I’m ready to start creating differentiating my instruction plans and focusing on using appropriate resources to teach the concepts in the curriculum.

– A

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