strategies and activities to engage kids in mathematics

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Strategies to Engage Kids in Math

12 Strategies to Engage Middle School Kids in MathDr. Shirley DisselerAssistant Professor Elementary & Middle Grades Education. STEM Coordinator, LEGO Educational SpecialistWhat is the goal today?Explore & share strategies for middle grades mathLink to math practicesExamine what is means to be a mathematically proficient middle school studentOpening Activity: BTEWhat do you think it means to be a mathematically proficient middle school student? Build a model that indicates your thoughts.ShareWhat Should the Focus Truly Be?Use of Math Practices to create proficient math literate citizensContextual problem solving Collaboration and CommunicationIntegration of math into other content through contextual situationsGoal of Middle School MathematicsPromote and Create Mathematically Proficient Students ready for 21st mathematical understanding and application.


Mathematical Process Skills (Math Practices)Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.Reason abstractly and quantitatively.Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.Model mathematics understandingUse appropriate tools.Attend to precision.Look for and make sense of structureLook for repeated reasoning

How do we do it?1) Get them motivated!2) Get them engaged!3) Assess them formatively and often!4) Share ideas that work! GET OUT OF THE BOX!Common Core MathMore Integrated with other contentMathematical Practices MUST be addressed conceptually.Use the unpacking documents : A better guide for teaching and learning.

Getting Started with Thinking: Strategy 1Appetizers: Logical thinking activitiesPlaying cardsDominoesVENN DiagramsWHAT ARE MATHEMATICALLY PROFICIENT STUDENTS?Students that can begin the math process by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for ways to begin to solve problems.

Analyze problems from the standpoint of what isGivenConstraintsRelationships (between and among variables)GoalsLets try it!How many ways can you name yourself?Think/ Pair/Share

Look at the number 440.List all the ways you can name that number.Think /Pair /ShareThis gets students prepared for what a ratio and a fraction really represent.

How many ways can you name ?

Equivalent Representations6 + 4 = _____ + 5

2/3 + 4/5 = 4/6 + _____

Why do students struggle with these?

Strategy 2: Prime number Models- Visualizing the MathUsing 100 grids and linking cubes model prime factorization.This helps students to see visually the prime components of any number.

Lets try it!Strategy 3: Contextual Problems and organizers: Analyzing the Math

A great site for using graphic organizers in algebra! Strategy 4: Match Set Activities: Collaborating with Math Line students up equally on opposite sides of the room. (one group as the symbolic representation of an event, one has the the situation in mathematical terms and you could have a third set with real world problems that can be described by the expression) Set timer or play music as students without talking walk around an pair up with their match set.

What are Mathematically Proficient Students?

Students who can understand and use assumptions, definitions, and previous results to construct arguments and make conjectures. Analyze by breaking down examples and non-examplesCommunicate to others and discuss mathematically and explain reasoningObjects, drawings, diagrams and actions.

Strategy 5: Concept FormationExamplesNon-examples2 (3+ 2 ) = 2 x 3 + 2 x 2 12- 3 + 2 = 12 ( - 3 + 2)2 (x + 2x) + 3 = 2x + 4x + 3 3 x 2 = 2 x 34( x + 4x + 3x) = 4x + 16x + 12x 6 + 0 = 6 What is the concept?

Strategy 6: Concept AttainmentUse 0 -9 cards, , Display an inequality on the board such as: x < 4 or 5 > y < 3Students create a yes/ no column on their desk. They place the cards that satisfy the inequality in the yes column and those that do not in the no column. Justify the no answers.Strategy 7: Proportional Rectangles Sort the rectangles into 3 families.Make sure all members of the same family are the same shape and differ only in size.Arrange each group smallest to largest. What patterns do you see within each family?Stack each family with the left corner and bottoms lined up.What new observations can you make. Strategy 8: Rational and Irrational Number SortUsing the number cards at your table sort them according to rational and irrational.

Have students then put them on a number line in correct order. (Advanced)

Discuss with your table the number sorts.

What are Mathematically Proficient Students?Students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems in everyday society and in the workplace and model situations. Describe situations algebraicallyDescribe charts and graphsReason proportionally: grade 6 should NOT use the cross product algorithm.

Strategy 9: Games in Math Proportionality with cardsUsing Card war proportionality.What are Mathematically Proficient Students?Students who can consider available tools when solving problems and make a reasonable choice.CalculatorComputer/tech toolsPaper and pencilModelsRulerProtractorSpreadsheet

Strategy 10 : Using Tools in MathUsing cards to promote reasoning.

What are Mathematically Proficient Students?Students who can attend to precision in communication of mathematics to others.Can clarify the symbols they use ( +, -. x, / , = etc)Careful to clarify units of measure and labelsCalculate accuratelyUse a frame of reference to identify the context of a problem. What are Mathematically Proficient Students?Students who can make sense of structure and discern patterns within a problem.

Students who notice notice if calculations are repeated and look for shortcuts.Strategy 11: Defining the problem meaningHow do you know that 4/6 = 2/3?

Come up with at least 2 different explanations at your table.

Possible Explanations1) They are the same because you can simplify.2) If you have a set of 6 items and only use 4 of them that would be 4/6 ; but you could take the 6 items and put them into into 3 groups and the 4 would then be 2 of those groups. This means 4/6 and 2/3 are the same.3) If you start with 2/3 you can multiply the numerator and denominator by the 2 and get 4/6.4) If you have a square cut into three parts and you shade 2 that is 2/3. If you cut these 3 parts in half that would be 6 parts with 4 shaded. Different ThinkingThey are all correct but represent different types of thinking about equivalent fractions.#2 and #4 are conceptual, although not efficient.#1 and #3 are procedural and efficient, but do NOT suggest conceptual understanding of the concept.

STUDENTS NEED A BALANCE! WHY?What are Mathematically Proficient Students?Students that can bring together the abilities to decontextualize (represent symbolically and manipulate) and to contextualize (ask questions and rethink strategies as they work)Considers things likeUnits involvedThe meaning of quantities (not just how to compute)Using different properties of operations and objects.

Final Activity: LEGO Making meaning of learning mathBuild a model that indicates your take- aways from today. Comments?Thanks for coming today.

You can reach me at 704-798-1056 or at sdissele@highpoint.eduNew Book for 3-5: Strategies And Activities for Activities for Common Core Grades 3-5.

Middle School Book in progress!


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