Starting With the Why

Sep 9, 2018

Did I tell you?  I have a new math teammate this year.  It has been a lot of fun to share ideas, listen to ideas, and learn about new resources.  I can be awfully opinionated when it comes to math because for so long I had no knowledge, no deep understanding, and no confidence.  Because it took me until my adulthood to have a foundational understanding in basic math, I now have opinions.  Our students deserve the best math instruction.

And when there is a new teammate on board, I have to be sure to listen.  Then share my thoughts.  But listening is key because I have more to learn.

This year Ryan started off his year like we have done in first grade previously, but with some added twists!

But let's back up, just a bit.

Many times at parent teacher conferences we hear, "they don't have a math brain."  Or, "I wasn't good at math, so they are not either."  Basically, there are already preconceived notions about math.  Very often we have found that young children do not understand why math is important in everyday life.  So we have to take time at the beginning of the year to start with the why.

Ryan did just that this year.  He started with a simple web.  It posed the question, "Why do we need math?"  There may have been some cricket noises, but a couple of reasons were given.  This is to be expected and perfectly okay.  Because now the brainstorming can begin!

why do we need math powerpoint

This Powerpoint has slides within it from around my neighborhood. Phone numbers, speed limits, gas prices, and addresses are some of the images included.  Once you display a slide, just ask the students to talk about it.  Share their thoughts about how it relates to math and why it is so important to us. Just click on the image to grab it for free.

Ryan also used a video this year.

why is math important
 As the powerpoint focuses on signs and symbols around the community, this video focuses on professions and actions you take to utilize math skills.  Sports, construction, shopping, and driving are all included.

So what did the kids come up with?  Remember that web that Ryan started with the students?  They came back to that and added to their thinking.  This picture speaks louder than my words.  The blue is before the Powerpoint and video.  The purple is after.

Conversation in the classroom is so powerful.  Just look at what it did!

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