Archive for Math

Math and Perserverance

Perseverance: : continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Standards for Mathematical Practice Practice 1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. Recently I happened upon a 5th grade teacher whose class was at Specials. She stopped me and asked if I could join her class after math. She was introducing long division using manipulatives. She had started the lesson before specials. The students had struggled through the first problem. The students were to use ones, tens, and hundred blocks to solve the division problem. The students were struggling, many had not been asked to use manipulatives in math in years and the teacher new she needed to make adjustments. While the students were at Specials she did two things. First she quickly made and copied a work mat for the students to use.

The teacher did one more thing that I think really helped students….She went and found Sticky Notes. The students were confused as to what to do with the manipulatives as they divided. The sticky notes would represent the deviser.

The teacher displayed the problem for the students. 69 รท3. First they had to make 69 using ones and tens blocks on their work mats. Then she discussed the deviser and asked the students how many sticky notes they will need to represent the deviser. She then walked the students through how to set up the problem with their manipulatives.


Step 1
Students show the number 69 with their ones and tens blocks


Step 2

Step 2
Students now divide their tens blocks into three equal groups

Step 3
Students have now divided 69 into three equal groups using ones and tens blocks










The teacher then had the students work another problem this time they had to use the hundreds blocks as well.

An interesting thought I had about this lesson, not only did the students have to persevere, but the teacher did as well. When she began the lesson before specials, the students resisted, they wanted to do long division the way they were comfortable doing, paper and pencil. The teacher could have easily given up the manipulative lesson and switched to solving the problems the way students are most comfortable with. Instead, the teacher did not give up, she persevered and thought of how she can better help the students use the manipulatives to solve the problem. Because she persevered, so did her students!

How do you help your students persevere in math?


Published in: Math, Math Practices on October 2, 2013 at12:36 pm Comments (1)
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