Focus on Math

Helping children become mathematicians!

North Central Zone Conference Sessions March 9, 2012

Thanks to all of you who participated in my two math sessions here in Prince George, BC, today as part of the Zone Conference. In spite of my sore throat, we covered a lot of ground about fractions, decimals, percents, integers, and algebra.

I promised some “clean copies” of the handouts, so here they are, ready for downloading:
balance scale (for doing algebra equations concretely)
percent circles
percent grids and blanks (see activity below)
mini 10 frames (for representing decimal tenths in adding, multiplying, etc.) 27 per page40 per page

Remember, the BC curricular documents stress over and over that students should demonstrate their mathematical understanding “concretely, pictorially, and symbolically”. We tend to not do enough of the concrete and pictorial parts, but hopefully after today’s session(s) you have a few more ideas of how you can fit those in to your lessons.

We did not do anything with the percent grids and blanks, so let me share an  activity you can do with those. Before photocopying to give to students, partially shade several of the “blank” squares. Don’t worry about shading in a particular manner, just draw a random closed curve in each square and shade it in. Ask the students to estimate the percentage of the square that is shaded, and then give each of them one of the little 100 grids copied onto acetate and cut out individually. Students can lay the acetate grid over the partially shaded square and count the number of little grid squares that are completely shaded. Then have them count all the little squares that are partially shaded (for instance, the curve goes through the square leaving part of the grid square shaded and part not shaded) and divide by two to average out the ones mostly shaded and mostly not shaded.

For a recap on what we talked about using the fraction pocket charts, check out the blog post called “Reasoning About Fractions Using Benchmarks”. That post goes over what we talked about today and includes directions for making the pocket charts as well.

If I have forgotten something, let me know and I will edit this post and add to it! I hope you try something from the workshop right away with your students!

Mathematically yours,


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