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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Decimals are part of our every day life. We see them in the amount
of rainfall in weather reports, sports statistics (e.g. batting averages),
and stock market reports. It is important to connect fractions to
decimals by numerous conceptual experiences, rather than just
memorizing the algorithm.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Ask students if they have ever created new words by taking a word and rearranging its letters. Explain that they are going to do a similar activity only using numbers. Have the students cut three index cards in half the wide way. Then, have students label the card as follows: 7, 5, 4, 0, and a decimal point. Tell the students you are going to ask them to make numbers that will fit a specific rule. Remind students that each number and the decimal must be used for each problem. Have students work in small groups and discuss their findings and discoveries. Start giving rules such as: “Build a number that is greater than 750”, “Build a number that is less than 5”, “Build a number that is between 70 and 70.5”, etc.
Part One: Rolling For One
Play the game with the class using the following rules:
Part Two: Get the Hint?
Part Three: The Tile Company
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA.
Teaching and learning mathematics is a complex, active, and social activity. The research on problem solving and mathematical reasoning clearly states the great need to create mathematically rich environments for students to deepen their understanding of mathematics. The instructional strategies chosen should match the varied learning needs of students. Effective instruction occurs when teachers choreograph the learning experience by carefully choosing select problems, standard- based materials, and conducting formal and informal assessments. The end goal is to empower students in problem solving by blending conceptual, procedural, and factual knowledge into a powerful learning package.
Van de Walle, J. A. (2001). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (4th ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Van de Walle clearly states the importance of constructivism. “Constructivism provides us with insights concerning how children learn mathematics and guides us to use instructional strategies that begin with children rather than ourselves” (2001, p. 26). The whole learning process focuses on learning the concept, instead of the small pieces or procedural parts in the learning process. Effective teachers know their students’ strengths and weaknesses and plan instruction to challenge all learners to meet high standards. To do this, teachers must find ways to learn students’ prior mathematics knowledge and misunderstandings so that knowledge gaps can be addressed, inconsistencies resolved, and understanding deepened.
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