20 March 2015

Mathematical Argumentation - difficult on your own

Another example of trying to get higher order thinking in maths for students working independently from the teacher.

This is created in Explain Everything where the numbers are movable but the triangle frame is locked down. This allows students to guess and check to solve the problem.

The beauty of this app is that I can use pages as templates. My triangle frame and numbers have remained the same, I just changed the target number to 10.

  Finally on the last page I've put a recording button to encourage students to describe their strategy for filling in the triangle.

How it went with students?
Not a complete fail. The fact that students could manipulate the numbers made this digital version easier than a paper one which would requires lots of rubbing or scribbling out and many templates to fit the numbers in. Students liked being able to try again.
The fact that students can same their work as images onto the camera roll and share with me meant that I could display different solutions (or nearly solutions) and these were visible for the whole group to see and discuss. It also meant I could scaffold those who had difficulty by displaying a partial solution e.g the corner numbers already filled in.
What didn't work was the recording. A 10 year old can spend a very long time trying, trying again, over explaining, sharing with others, being shy when the listen back, and deleting their mathematical thinking. Not only did it take a long time to get some students to finish recording, these recordings were very long and difficult to use for group discussions. Students went round in circles repeating what they did without challenge. The discussion came when we sat together as a group to share, question one another, challenge and justify our thinking.

The problem is mathematical discussion requires guided argumentation with others!

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