Playing the Game of Math

We've been pleased with our transition to Singapore Math in the Lower School.  One of its strengths is that it encourages teachers and students to explore ideas and play with numbers.  It also inspires confidence in students and gives them the intellectual courage to take some risks. 

I've seen several wonderful examples of this recently.  
In one of our third grade classes, students asked the teacher if they could extend the basic thinking about division (Singapore calls it part-part-whole thinking) into very large numbers.  The teacher turned them loose and here are some of the results:

How about a number this big?

Or seven digits?
For this number, . . . 

We needed the whole desk, and then some.

And in another grade, students explored geometry on Pioneer Day.

Finally, here's an example from the TK class, who visited me on my birthday and asked me my age.  Here's what TK teacher Louise Holland writes:

When we visited Dr. Denton for his birthday, he asked the Cubs if we could determine his age if he gives us his birth year.  We began this task by brainstorming ways in which we might figure out his age:  "look at the calendar," "use the 'magic counter' to see if we get the right number," "and go over 1,000 over 100 and see how far we can go." I am not exactly sure how old that would make Dr. Denton, so I gave them a suggestion.  I asked the Cubs if they remembered how old I am, and they remembered that I am 49.  I wrote down my birth year, and we compared the last two digits, 65 and 58.  Next, we used the 100's chart, covered the numbers between 65 and 58, and decided to count back from 65. This was a great exercise for the Cubs to apply concepts such as counting back and breaking down a problem that seemed impossible.  They are very proud to be able to tell Dr. Denton that he is 56 years old! See the picture with Daniel demonstrating our work.  

Voila!  56!


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