## The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

“Mental acuity of any kind comes from solving problems yourself, not from being told how to solve them.”  ~Paul Lockhart, “A Mathematician’s Lament”

## THREE GUIDELINES FOR CHANGE

1. Concrete  −> Pictorial −> Abstract. This is perhaps Singapore’s greatest contribution to math pedagogy. Based on research that goes back over a hundred years (Dewey, Bruner, Piaget, Vygotsky, Montessori, and others), Singapore validated the strength of this approach by using it to achieve top scores internationally.

## WEEK ONE – Activity One – A Logic Problem

Activities in the first couple weeks need to draw the children in. Even (especially!) those who think they dislike math. We avoid computation, instead looking for activities that involve ambiguity, head-scratching patterns, puzzles and stories.

### ACTIVITY ONE

TEACHING LOGIC FIRST: (~15 minutes)

A puzzle has the ability to pull children into the subject of math. It appeals to a wide range of learners and can generate small feelings of success….

## THE LADY OR THE TIGER

##### (~60 minutes)

A puzzle has the ability to pull children into the subject of math. A story even more so. Let’s combine the two.

### 1. The Story

We start this activity by reading a condensed version of Frank Stockton’s classic tale “The Lady or the Tiger”.

After the story, we discuss the word “Ambiguity”, since the children are fascinated and frustrated by the fact that the author does not give an answer to the question “Did …

# 1. WARM UP

Put this puzzle up as students come in. Have them record their answers, and discuss.

…. read more …. >>>WEEK ONE act 3

## 1. WARM UP –  The Fraction Template

Project the fraction template below.  Click for pdf:  fraction template

Photocopy it for students if at all possible. Our 5th graders keep one in their binder for weeks.

Ask simply : “WHAT DO YOU SEE? You can’t give a wrong answer – whatever you see is true.” Early answers might refer to colors and numbers. Accept all as true. Gradually ….

# 1. Warm Up

Put this puzzle up as a warm up. It is a little easier than last week’s puzzles, and this is a good time to build confidence with this type of logic problem. Have students try this one alone.

Sign #2 cannot be true, since it then declares itself false. Therefore, sign 2 is true …

## WEEK THREE – Activity One; Word Problems, + a Note on Differentiation

Our first unit is a twin unit of Fractions (mostly visual) and Word problems. We begin working with both these topics very early in the year, so that we have all year to incorporate them into every unit.  We find that word problems are an excellent way to teach fractions, too. Our next two units will be place value, patterns and multiplication, after which we will return to fractions in more depth.

This introduction to 5th grade word problems starts at the concrete, as it should.

Procedure:

PROBLEM ONE

1. Pass out a handful of rainbow cubes (smallest base-10 blocks) or similar per child.
2. Have each child count out 11 blocks, and set the others aside.
3. Project or write up Problem 1.

## Let’s Play‘Alpha Beta Gamma’.

We like this game because it encourages cooperation without leading to too much competition between groups. Since the composition of each group changes constantly, students don’t feel overly tied to the scores of a given group.

## What About Homework?

This entry addresses both our homework policy guidelines and our procedure for correcting homework.