Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Best Buy

In June, I had an awesome opportunity to learn how to teach math from the incredible Kara Imm. She is a staff developer from Math in the City and taught middle school and high school math in her years as an educator. I could go on and on about how much I love learning from Kara and how she's changed the way I approach teaching math to fifth graders! However, I will spare you these details and talk about the math we did the past couple of days.

Before we dive into the math though, I'd just like to say that I had about twenty teachers from my district come into my room and observe my teaching and Kara's conferrals, as well as observe my students, so that we could do a whole lot of learning in our debrief. I was really excited about learning from the feedback of my colleague, but it wasn't until I started launching the lesson that I got really nervous. I mean, I saw the usual twenty-five faces of my students in anticipation of the lesson. But in addition to those lovely faces, I saw the eyes of twenty adults watching my every move. I'm prettttttty sure my face was flushed pink!

Anyway, enough about me! How about that math now? :)

Students were given this context to begin:

I noticed that Target and Babies 'R Us sold the same brand of baby food, but had different bargains. Target sold 12 jars of this brand of baby food for $15 while Babies 'R Us sold 20 jars of the same brand for $23.

I then informed students that I was trying to figure out which one was the better buy and sent them off to do the math.

Whoa, what an entrance into our fractions unit!

Here are some of the posters that students made to show their thinking:

Whoa, did you catch what some students were doing in the first poster? They dealt out the money amongst the jars in order to find the price of one. Did you catch a misconception in the second poster? Some students were able to do long division, but were unable to name out what the "R3" represented. What about the last poster? What do you notice here? They didn't have to start from the beginning once they found the price per unit at one store. They knew that they could compare the pricing of 20 jars at Target to the 20 jars at Babies 'R Us instead of finding the price per unit!

Trust me. This math isn't easy. I know I'm asking my students to do some hard work! But most of them are showing me what grit looks like in math and I am truly impressed! Keep it up, fifth grade rockstars!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Mrs. Hong! I love this relevant, authentic approach!!!