Monday, 30 November 2015

Math Problem-Solving

Math happens everywhere and lately we have been noticing our learners working through various math problems. They are developing problem-solving skills across all the math strands (number sense, measurement, patterning, geometry and data management). However over the past couple weeks, our learners are especially enjoying 2D shapes. They have been working to use 2D shapes to create pictures and designs.

One day, I noticed a couple girls creating with the shapes. I challenged I.D. and A.R. to see how many different ways they could create a hexagon using the 2D shapes. I was expecting them to create the three you would expect (3 diamonds, 2 trapezoids, 6 triangles), but they surprised me and persisted with the problem to create some I had not even thought of! They also inspired other students to help them create different hexagons.

A.R. problem solving as she tries out different shapes to create a hexagon. A.R- "This has only 5 sides"

Here are the hexagons they made after I posed the challenge to them.

The next day they were still making hexagons in creative ways.

I.S. created this large hexagon, he even had to go to another classroom to borrow more diamonds.
 Students use problem-solving skills to create pictures. They need to determine what picture they want to create and then choose the shapes that will help them create it. When something doesn't look the way they want it to, they have to try different shapes.

"This is Mrs. Potato Head. She is mad because all the vegetables ran away!"

E.B. created this "neighbourhood" and added house numbers so you know which house is yours.
"This is my house, I live at 53" 

A.H. created this ferris wheel. A.H- "the hexagons are the chairs".

L.R. used the numbers to show her understanding of shape attributes. She counted the number of sides on each shape and used the numbers to show how many there were.
A.R. created these neighbourhoods. "It is sunny in the middle and it is night on the other two because they are in a different country. The numbers are to tell you whose house it is"

We created pictures using 2D shapes cut out of paper. The learners had to problem solve when they couldn't find a shape they needed. Many found ways to cut them out for themselves.

Providing open-ended materials allows the students to use their imagination and problem-solving skills to create wonderfully beautiful pictures, designs and stories.

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