Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cynthia Nixon: Amazing Number Play

One of my most memorable teaching moments was in a 3rd grade class teaching math.  Really...math?  Yes!  I love math and I love those moments where my students catch the spark and learn to love number play.  We were discussing large number subtraction where there are 0s in the top number.  Throws kids off - every time!  It is tough for them.  I had a student come up with a strategy that amazed me - and I’ve used it ever since!  Think about a problem like 2001 -  326.  Students need some more ones to subtract from since 6 is larger than 1.  Most think - “There are no tens in 2001.”  This student thought - “I need a ten.  There are no tens in the tens place, but I have 200 tens in this number.  I’m going to take one of them away so now I have 199 tens left and I now have 11 ones to subtract the 6 from.”  I stopped the whole class and we talked about the strategy and why it works.  It was an incredible conversation!

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