I always have a pocket chart or two on my wall where I keep word problems or other challenges at all times. I can change these out to be more seasonal, to be more review, or to match the topic we are studying. In this case, I loaded up this anchor chart with some Earth Day problems!
It’s testing season so I am having to switch my schedule all around and squeeze in math throughout the day. One thing that helps me do this is having a ready supply of challenges ready to roll so students can work cooperatively and I am freed up to pull small groups for coaching. Those “wall problems” sure come in handy! Right now we are wrapping up our big division unit, and I still have a large handful of students who really need some one-on-one coaching. While I pulled them today, I let the others work on these fun Earth Day problems–which were quite challenging for them!
My only direction was that I wanted them to work ALONE to try solving the problems first–
–and then to partner up to compare NOT JUST ANSWERS, but strategies as well. I encouraged them to “teach” the partner the strategy they used so they could see a new way of solving the problem–and you should have HEARD the discussions! It was super cool to see some groups really putting their heads together and studying each other’s notebooks. I heard things like…
We spent about 30 minutes working on problem-solving and it allowed me to meet with 1 small group and 8 individual students for error analysis on their exit slips! (Not sure what I mean by this? When I give an exit or entrance slip, I quickly sort into “got it” and “oh boy” and then pull students to study their work. If they are making careless errors, I ask them to “proofread” and try to find their errors. If they are struggling with the content, I reteach them either one-on-one or in a small group.) I love having these slips handy for whatever I’m teaching…they really help me keep taking the temperature of the class in only a few minutes! Click the image below to learn more. Interested in the Earth Day problems? Click any other image or RIGHT HERE.