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Students must justify their proposed spinner, explaining how it fits the data.
I know the power of first impressions, and I want the students to be energized and excited for more.
I have the students work the problems in a special “math journal” which is saved for only our most challenging problems.
Students must also write a fraction that describes the part of the total design represented by each different color pattern block.
Spinner Game presents students with a frequency table of spins and requires students to create a bar graph of the results and draw a spinner that would yield those results.
They also helped me to challenge the students who were high achievers and to develop the confidence of the ones who needed more support.
An open-ended problem that I often use at the beginning of the year is “The Weather Problem.” It is fairly straightforward and gets the students’ number sense gears turning, which is pivotal at this point in the year.
During that first year of implementation, my apprehension turned to appreciation and excitement for the freshness and authentic conversation these problems brought to my classroom.
Open-ended problems allowed me to teach math with relevance, through multiple strategies.
If the answers were not immediately evident to me, a self-proclaimed “math person,” then I couldn’t imagine how my students would react.
However, after researching the literature on the benefits of open-ended problem solving in the math classroom, I decided to give them a try.