September 29, 2011


Amy Park

Wow, we have had two days of powerful math happening in our classes. As per our last discussion, we gave each student a 100s chart. We began by asking students to colour in all of the multiples of one. To our surprise…most kids had no idea what we were talking about. In fact, many confused looks were exchanged among the students - and us, as we realized that few kids knew where to start. Then the magic began…students started making conjectures, they began supporting and refuting others' conjectures, they were talking about abstract concepts and began developing an in-depth understanding of the concept being discussed. The light bulbs were going off. Misconceptions were discussed and partial truths were reworded to become complete truths. We discovered new definitions and new ways of thinking. It was powerful. We captured a great deal on video and we took several photos.

The discussion today was based on the question "what is a multiple of 2?". The first picture is the kids initial ideas, the second picture is their refined/reworded conjectures. The last 2 pictures are of students individual journals, where we asked them to define "even" and "odd".  This is evidence of powerful mathematical learning happening in grade 4 :) It was powerful for teachers, admin (who popped by) and for our students. Although it seems rudimentary, we believe we are setting the foundation for solid mathematical reasoning, establishing conjectures, working through the conjectures to find truths, and discovering that their is not just one way of "doing" math.

1 comment:

  1. This is phenomenal! Again we see what happens when you provide children with an interesting problem or challenge and let them wrestle with it. That the 2 of you would expect children in grade 4 to offer conjectures and then test them (Gee just like people working in the field of mathematics would be expected to do) again pushes the boundaries of what we expect of kids. As a result ALL of these kids are developing a tangible and much deeper understanding of's about groups of things, it's about the relationships of numbers to other numbers, it's about patterns, it's about the positions of numbers on a chart etc. Multiplication is not quick right answers and mad minutes that just make you mad. Best of all, these kids are gaining confidence and trusting their abilities to figure out things together. They are also understanding sophisticated mathematical terminology by using it in context. Wow!

    Thank goodness these kids have a couple of teachers who are genuinely interested in what these little characters understand and are able to do....Lucky kids!