Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4

Ladybugs

Video Overview
Before this lesson, students were asked what they wanted to learn about. The class chose ladybugs, and the students generated questions about ladybugs. In this lesson, students first predict how many heads, wings, feet, antennas, and mouths ladybugs have and explain how they arrived at their predictions. After learning how to observe ladybugs with a magnifying glass and discussing their observations, student pairs begin examining their own ladybugs to find answers to their questions. After students make bar graphs with their data, they write number problems. Students then complete a class chart. Once the chart is completed, students share what they learned. Connections are made among real objects, diagrams, and numerals as students discuss their results. The class concludes with a discussion on the differing data regarding the number of wings a ladybug has, and one student finds a book on ladybugs to clarify the answer.

Topics for Discussion

The following areas provide a focus for discussion after you view the video. You may want to customize these areas or focus on your own discussion ideas.

Structuring Tasks around Students1 Interests
  1. Why is it important to engage young children in collecting and analyzing data?

  2. What are the pros and cons of having students choose their own topics for investigation?

  3. Students seemed to know the answers to the questions even before they began collecting data, so why did Ms. Hakim and Ms. Confer still have them carry out the investigation?

  4. Discuss how the young students progressed through the following sequence for the ladybug investigation: (1) posed questions; (2) planned and collected data; (3) organized and represented data; and (4) interpreted data to answer the initial questions.

  5. A discrepancy arose concerning the number of wings on a ladybug. What possibilities exist for resolving a question when the collected data differ? What can you do to prepare for, and be ready to address, unexpected events?

  6. Why do you think Ms. Hakim and Ms. Confer had students record their data in the form of a bar graph rather than by just writing numerals? What other ways could students have displayed the data?

  7. What determines the curriculum in this classroom? What implications does this approach have for instructional planning?

Teaching in Teams

  1. Ms. Hakim and Ms. Confer team-taught this lesson. Describe the interactions between and among the teachers and the class.

  2. List the advantages and disadvantages of team-teaching. What considerations are important to address when planning a team-teaching lesson?

  3. Ms. Hakim and Ms. Confer modeled 3collaboration2 before passing out the ladybugs and other materials. Why would you do this? Why would you not?

  4. Note the use of English and Spanish by the two teachers during the lesson. How did the teachers integrate Spanish into the lesson? How did Ms. Hakim and Ms. Confer create an environment conducive to students1 learning in this bilingual classroom?

  5. Classrooms with limited- or non-English speakers often have an aide or an assistant. Identify ways to work with other adults in the classroom to meet the needs of these students.

Extension

Investigating Ladybugs
Develop other activities related to ladybugs. For example, have students find the average number of spots on a ladybug or measure in footsteps how far a ladybug walks across part of a classroom. What other mathematical concepts would you emphasize in these activities? What scientific ideas? How might you adapt this lesson for older students? Consider how your lesson can incorporate real-world examples.


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