Saturday, October 18, 2008

Peeling the Mathematical Onion

This session dealt with trying to close the gap between elementary, middle and high school mathematics. Math is not getting better as the grades go on. Every day,7,000 students drop out of school. There is an early gap – in First Grade. If math problems are noted in that grade, it increases as the years go on. Students may learn about numbers 0-10 but they are not learning about higher numbers 11-20 and their relationship with each other. 10% of the lowest level of eighth grade students are working six grades below grade level.

Algebra is becoming mandatory in the eighth grade around the nation. However, if the foundation for number sense is not strong, students will be lost and frustrated with mathematics. The speaker talked about the challenge for intervention. She said it is not about reteaching missed skills. The focus should be on rebuilding the critical foundation – a core set of knowledge – and connective learning streamlined to the most important topics.

Students should have a robust sense of whole numbers. Fluency equals numbers sense. Fluency is an understanding of place value, the ability to compare and decompose numbers, and grasp the meaning behind the operations (recognize addition and subtraction situations). It is so important that students have the knowledge to apply the operations of problem solving and understanding how to represent a problem (graphic organizers.)

A student was asked, “Do you know what 100 – 3 = ? – Yes, that’s 97. Do you now what 100 – 98 = ? No. That’s too hard. Instead of teaching subtraction as “take away” it should be taught as “distance from.” (Which I was glad that that’s how we teach it at CCE).

Big Ideas of Addition

Ten is an organizer of our number system. Numbers and be composed and decomposed. Students need time to practice and time to internalize. The 10-frame and the open number line is are useful and effective tools for this purpose.

The speaker spoke of pre-assessments and post-assessments, streamline lessons, and review in order keep teaching effective.

Written by Maria Mallon

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