I visited the archives to try to get a feel for the format of the discussion group. I'm not sure if that was much help, but I have decided to simply voice my reaction and response to the first lesson. If this is not the intent of the discussion group, I hope someone will give me the necessary feedback to amend my future input to the group discussion.
I enjoyed the student-centered approach utilized in the video of the workshop. I agree that students benefit greatly using a problem solving approach to teaching mathematics.
This year I have 28 very active fourth graders. Over all they are a very chatty group, and the chattiness does not always focus on the educational issue at hand. Therefore, I am spending considerable amounts of time attempting to familiarize them with expectations for small group work. Already I have utilized a whole group discussion format to discuss and demonstrate a variety of methods to solve problems that I have posed. I am working toward being able to ultimately create small groups to work together in the problem solving process which could then choose a group representive to explain/demonstrate how their particular group solved a given problem. I believe this type of format can and does lead to some very rich mathematical discussions in the classroom. I will continue to pursue that endeavor.
In the mean time, I will use the four-point strategy develped in the video to explore statistics in the classroom. (Ask an appropriate question; collect appropriate data; organize and analyze the data; and interpret the results.)
I agree that the questions to be asked are a critical first piece to this process.
My first attempt was to ask students to work with a partner to measure their height. This resulted in a wide variety of mathematical discussions - from which tool was the easiest to use (ruler, meter/yard stick, or tape measure) to what is the best strategy to use, to why are some of the results seemingly not logical, to how do we effectively use a given tool to measure.
While this was a very valid lesson (actually this turned into a project involving multiple lessons) we set it aside for the time being due to required MEAP testing and other priorities. I have saved the data, however, and we will revisit the topic a little later in the year after students have had a bit more practice using tools to measure various other objects. (For example, we currently are using rulers, centimeters, and inches to create construction paper place value charts.)
We will also revisit this entire project at the end of the year to compare students' heights at the beginning of the year to students' heights at the end of the year.
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Received on Mon Nov 6 09:13:32 2006