Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Making Sense of Math: Real-World Experiences {Linky Week 1}

I am so excited to be working with some sweet friends on a linky series all about number sense!  Over the next 2 months we will focus on guiding principles outlined by math guru (and founder of Math Solutions), Marilyn Burns.  Our hope is to share tips, strategies and examples that help impact student learning and push number sense to the next level!

Why is Number Sense Important?

  • encourages students to think flexibly
  • instills confidence with numbers
  • builds a foundation for more complex math
  • helps students to understand numbers and their relationship to one another

Week 1: Linking Math to Real-World Experiences

This is something we do many times without even realizing it, whether it be with the hook of our lesson or examples that relate to our students' lives!  It is so important to relate math with the real world because it helps students to make connections and see the reasoning behind the skill.  Let me be honest.  I strongly disliked math as a kid.  I didn't understand the purpose in a lot of it and wasn't very confident in it.  (Thank goodness I teach K and not 8th, right?) I'm sure I am not alone.  Because of that I have made it a personal mission to never end a math lesson with my kids still wondering, "But why are we doing this??"  I want them to see the reasoning behind the skill and a great way to do that is by relating it directly to my learners and their world. 
Environmental Print: 2D and 3D Shapes in the environmentOne of my most popular math units each year involves images of real-world objects found in the environment.  I have a whole slew of photographs I took that I use throughout the unit.
Environmental Print: 2D and 3D Shapes in the environment

The pack includes: 79 photo cards, 8 shape scene cards, 3-In-a-Row game (8 game mats), 26 sorting cards, 2 Spin and Graph games, "I Can" and "Math Talk" task cards

Make sure and download the FREE PREVIEW FILE to grab your "sample" activity {here} or click on the Google doc {here}.
Environmental Print: 2D and 3D Shapes in the environment

Want to add a Visible Thinking Routine to add rigor?  
I suggest asking your students to complete a "See, Think, Wonder" by studying a shape scene card and discussing what they see, think and wonder about the picture.  The thinking routine will get your students digging deeper to focus on detail and is a great routine for introducing and/or exploring ideas.

Relating math to the real world can be as simple as discussing slicing a pizza during a fractions lesson, identifying shapes with food or relating doubles facts to concrete examples that students are familiar with.  Check out these ideas I pinned on my All About Math Pinterest board. (Click each picture for the link to head to the original source- love these free printables!)

I went to Eureka Math Curriculum training this week and one of the presenters shared a simple- yet effective- fluency activity.   The idea is to have your students close their eyes and count in their heads as the teacher drops coins into a can.  When using pennies, students would practice counting by 1's and would give you the total amount of money in the can at the end.  You could extend this to work on composing/decomposing by asking the students questions such as, "If you know I have 6 pennies in the can and I remove 2, how many are left in the can?"
This could be used to practice skip counting as well by using other coins.  Use nickels for 5's and dimes for skip counting by 10's.  You could take it a step further by practicing +10 and -10.
That is real world, right?  What kid can't relate to wanting money? :)

Lastly, we know that integrating literature into our math lessons is a must.  There are so many wonderful books that cater specifically to our standards!  Here are some of my favorites that work well for relating math to inside and outside the classroom.

I found this book on clearance at my local bookstore last week.  I was drawn in immediately by the real-world items!  Take a look at a few of the pages inside this book.  I'm thinking it would be perfect for taking a "shape walk."  What do you think?

I hope that some of these ideas helped to get you thinking on how you incorporate real-world experiences in your own classroom to strengthen number sense.  I would LOVE for you to link-up your own ideas and experiences on this week's topic!  Join in on the linky below.

Next week Mrs. Samuelson's Swamp Frogs will be hosting Week 2 of our Making Sense of Math series so don't forget to get those blog posts ready and join in on the fun!


Thank you for your comment!