Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dear Easter Bunny

Our latest math problem evolved from BG's decision to blog the Easter Bunny.  

BG initially asked  the Easter Bunny “How many eggs are you going to get?”  "Easter Bunny will you put candy in my egg?"

BG was very excited when Mr. Bunny responded, asking the question “How many eggs do you think I should get for each person?” 
BG wrote him back letting him know that he thought 12 eggs would be great.

The Easter Bunny responded asking BG to show him how many 12 is. (Mr. Bunny has trouble remembering numbers!)  

Our team jumped to the challenge of reminding Mr. Bunny how many 12 is, trying to be as efficient (mathematicians always try to be quick and efficient) as can be as they recorded their ideas. 

Please keep in mind that I have never suggested ways to record information.  Over the course of the year students have shared with each other how using dots, lines, etc. is a much more efficient way to record than trying to draw objects.  Students can now be observed using information (learning) gathered from our daily "brain work".  During these sessions students are prompted with "How many?  How did you see it?" when using tools such as dot plates, rekenrek, 5 frame, 10 frame and quantity number line.  The use of a string to show information has been modelled as students explain their thinking but has never been 'suggested' as a way to record.  CL can explain how efficient he finds this strategy and that he initially used it because he saw it on the white board.

These are some of the reminders created to help Mr. Bunny.

Mathematicians always want to show all of their work so students are encouraged to simply put an X through unwanted information rather that erasing or covering with 'magic tape'. 

Some students, particularly JK, need more practice with "How many?" and "How will you show it?"  Engaging small groups of mathematicians (with similar abilities) in a variety of games continues to be a focus to help encourage growth and development of understanding.


  1. I was fascinated by your your last "big math" post, and this one as well. You do a fantastic job of showing the divergent ways that children can use to think through their problems. As I have only recently begun to try the 3-part lesson as a provocation into math inquiry in my class (small groups, they self-select to join challenge) I appreciate your detailed explanation of the process. I particularly like the use of the number line or "string" as a way to record their thinking. I often wonder how to show math thinking I see at one centre to others at share time. Instead of capturing a quick video demonstration as i have often done of late (new iPad in Jan.), I think I'll challenge my students to do as yours do, to illustrate their problem-solving. I can see that the practice in your class leads to situ student ownership of the problem, exactly what I've been trying to figure out.
    Thank you for this!

  2. Thanks for your feedback Laurel.
    Math is a fascinating area to delve into and the most difficult part of the process is to avoid "the tell"....telling students what they could do to solve. The string has come up as a student describes how he saw the dots on a dot plate (i.e. 5 and one more makes 6), or how he made 7 on the 10 frame (i.e. 2 and 3 more makes 5 and then one more makes 6 and one more makes 7) or how he showed 11 using the quantity number line (i.e. 5 and 5 makes 10 and one more makes 11). What I will do is write the string as the student talks to visually show the thinking. We have talked a lot about friendly numbers 5 and 10, so again I might point out that a student has grouped by 5's (a friendly number) and then counted on as their strategy. Stay tuned for our Beaver posting where I will share actual conversation from a few students showing this process.