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One of the qualities I noticed from Chocolate Algebra was “Teachers should help all students understand that mathematics is a dynamic,
coherent, interconnected set of ideas.” The teacher introduced a new lesson of Linear equations. The teacher knew that the students would not be able to make any connections. When you introduce new lessons to students they automatically make an assumption of the lesson being boring. The teacher made connections to having the kids having a set amount of money and how to spend it. The students saw a pattern in the first part about how many Hershey Bars and Tootsie Rolls was purchased. They saw the pattern of 4 or lower Hershey Bars they were able to purchase two or more Tootsie Rolls. Katie George the middle school teacher mentioned this “The first row of our table showed that 5 Hershey Bars and 0 Tootsie Rolls were purchased. The second row had 4 Hershey Bars and 2 Tootsie Rolls. The class quickly saw patterns and the table was complete in a matter of minutes.” We know that Math is science patterns.” One of the second things the teacher did well is “Make a Table” this is one of the five critical strategies of representation. The students are able to use the Make A Table method to introduce ratios as well. One thing I picked up on is that my school math teacher uses this method called RRORR which stands for “Read, Restate, Organize, Answer, Reread, and Rework.” For instance the students will have to read a math problem such as “Johnny has 5 baseballs and he gave 3 away to his friend, how many does he has?” They would Restate the problem and say “Johnny has 5 baseballs and now has 2, How many he have left?” The student will organize the problem into an equation that will be ” What is 5-2.” The student will answer the question and restate how he/she got their answer. This method is a written method that connects ELA and Mathematics which makes word problems. This is how I will encourage my 6th grade kids to answer their questions fully using written explanation and mental math equations. I am always looking for opportunities for my students to apply prior knowledge and be able to build on what they already know versus what they do not.
Upon reflection of “Chocolate Algebra” and the best practices in teaching mathematics, I have identified two practices present both in Ms. George’s classroom and I believe are most relevant to me and my classroom. The practice I enjoyed seeing the most in the Ms. George’s classroom represented in the reading was “allow students to successfully engage in critical cognitive processes..”. This is evident from Ms. George’s explanation of her students open discussion about the emerging patterns in their activity. She quotes them as saying ““The left side goes down by one and the right side goes up by two,”, ““Will the left side always go down and the right side always go up?”, and ““Will the numbers at the top always make the pattern?” (Zemelman et al., 2005. p. 26). This was the first moment she identifies her students having a “lightbulb moment”. These moments are so important for students not just in mathematics but in every subject. Ms. George’s students having the opportunity to openly discuss and play off one another’s answers while talking through their own comprehension builds confidence. It also introduces them to the concepts on a peer’s level which may connect more closely to their own thought processes.
The second practice I recognized in Ms. George’s lesson and as beneficial to my classroom was “help all students to understand Math as dynamic, coherent, and interconnected set of ideas”. Although I do not teach Math myself this practice can be applicable in other disciplines as well. For instance if we compare it to the idea of context clues in English, an interconnected sets of ideas. Ms. George accomplishes this by building a bridge for her students between the T-chart data they constructed in the previous lesson, to a graph representation of the same data.
After playing around with the graph and the table for a few minutes, the class had a good initial understanding of the connection between the table and the graph. In fact, they could see that there was a relationship between
the number of Hershey Bars and the number of Tootsie Rolls (Zemelman et al., 2005 p. 28).
I enjoyed this reading not only because it allowed me to consider best practices in Mathematics as practices for my Humanities classroom but also because I learned something about Math as well.
From this week’s reading I can honestly say that the creator learned to teach mathematics in a more relatable way. For this particular grade level children are overall excited about chocolate, but some may hate math. The instructor delivered the lesson in a way that their students would comprehend. When students can comprehend what is being asked it opens their mind and get their thoughts to flowing. Coherence is the most important thing when a teacher is introducing a new lesson. Students quickly grow bored with the traditional ways of teaching so discovering new ways to introduced lessons is key. The more interesting students are in the lesson results in them being more engaged as well. In the reading the teacher used chocolate as a representation of properly introducing linear equations. I assume that delivering the message this way would make lecture go smoothly and less complicated for the students. I teach 9th and 12th graders, so I believe that I could simply use this exact message to teach my students. Although, there is a huge age gap I believe that almost all kids love and enjoy chocolate. As the lesson continued the teacher begin to ask more broader questions. This caused to students to think a bit deeper and to make similar connections to what they had already previously learned. Giving the students time to think and solve the problem on their own builds their stamina. Actively practicing working alone prepares the students for task such as quizzes and testing.