Wednesday, May 11, 2011

if i could them again, maybe it'll be different...

I'm doing my maths assignment, sort of.
As in, I'm getting distracted, but I'm getting distracted by a book on teaching maths. It's just that it doesn't relate directly to what I need to be doing.


But I was reading this passage and it made me laugh. Anyone who's worked with kids should be able to appreciate it. Background: It's a book on teaching kids to become good problem solvers. They're given a problem, and can use any materials in the room to solve it. Then they share their solutions and have to back it up.
So this was the problem provided to a year 1 & 2 class:
"There are 14 legs in a barn. What animals might be in the barn?"
One girl's solution says: 7 Cknz (7 Chickens)
This is what the book says about how she got there:
"Maris took 2 toy cows from the sorting tub and counted their legs. Then she took one more cow from the sub and counted all the legs. She took a fourth cow from the tub and counted the legs. She put the fourth cow back in the tub, then recounted the legs on the remaining three cows. She paused, then returned the remaining cows to the tub.
Next, she took out two sheep and counted their legs. Then, she took out a third sheep and counted all the legs. As before, she took out a fourth and counted all the legs. She put the fourth sheep back into the tub, then counted the legs on the remaining three sheep. She paused, took out the fourth sheep again, recounted the legs, and with a big sigh put all four sheep back into the tub. She repeated this same process using pigs and horses" (This is where I laughed. Poor girl).
"Finally, she took out two chickens and counted their egs. She added chickens one by one, recounting the legs each time. When she had seven chickens on her desk, she counted the legs and said, "OK, that's fourteen".
At this point Marisa looked at me (the author) as if she had finished the problem. I read the problem to her again. After looking carefully at the plastic chickens, she said nothing.
"What does the problem want you to find?" I asked.
"An animal with fourteen legs" she replied.
"What animal did you find?"
"How many legs does one chicken have?" I asked.
She answered, "Two"
"So if there are fourteen legs," I continued, "How many chickens are there?" Marisa thought for a while, then counted the chickens. "It's seven chickens in the field," she said. From Share & Compare, Larry Buschman.

Anyway. I can imagine this poor girl counting counting counting the legs, one two three animals- excellent, 12 legs! Maybe if I add one more... DANG!

Nic is coming to School with me tomorrow!?
Did I say this already??
Now I just want to challenge my kids with animal-based numeracy problems.

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