Friday, November 15, 2013

How Many in a Handful?

One of the projects in #MTH221 involves hosting activity stations during a Family Math Night at local schools. Our preservice elementary teachers are assigned a topic (patterning, measurement, data, or probability) and asked to find an activity related to that topic that might interest K-5 students. As a group, they decide on two that they want to run and begin gathering/developing the resource they need to make the activity work.

For example, I found I Have a Handful in the November 1999 issue of Teaching Children Mathematics in the Math by the Month department. I made a poster and began identifying Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) that this activity might address. We encourage our teachers to connect at least two Standards for Mathematical Practice and two content standards. For I Have a Handful, I decided to focus on:
Standard for Mathematical Practice:
  • Model with Mathematics [SMP 4]
  • Use Appropriate Tools Strategically [SMP 5]
Content Standards:

  • Kindergarten: Classify objects and count the number of objects in each category [K.MD.3]
  • Grades 1, 2, and 3: Represent and interpret data [1.MD.4, 2.MD.10, 3.MD.3]
  • Grade 6: Develop understanding of statistical variability [6.SP.1]
  • Grade 6: Summarize and describe distribution [6.SP.4, 6.SP.5a]
Next, I identified some questions I might ask to help make students' thinking visible during the activity and aligned them with the CCSSM.
  1. Which shape shows up most often and how do you know? [K.MD.3]
  2. How could you record your result on a graph? [SMP 4, 1.MD.4, 2.MD.10, 3.MD.3, 6.SP.4]
  3. Why did you use this type of graph to represent your results? [SMP 5]
  4. Which shape occurred the most? The least? How many more? [SMP 4, 1.MD4, 2.MD.10, 3.MD.3, 6.SP.5a]
  5. What would happen if you grabbed another handful? Why? [6.SP.1]
I decided to concentrate on the first three questions, and using the framework from Orchestrating Discussion (5 Practices), I began to anticipate possible student responses (Practice 1). This lead to the monitoring sheet (Practice 2) that is provided below.

On the second page, I tried to arrange the responses in such a way that they represent movement from a concrete approach to an abstract one. In essence, a rubric reflecting various levels of comprehension related to the idea of creating a display of the results from the activity. It was not as evident, to me, how to break up the questions on pages 1 and 3 using this approach. Perhaps seeing people engage with the activity will make these responses easier to arrange.

In the next post, I will share the results of carrying out the activity and address the remaining Practices (Selecting, Sequencing, and Connecting).

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