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Math Workshop Part 2

Math Workshop Part 2

In the last post I have tried to paint a picture of how we encourage students to use what they already know about numbers and about the world to invent mathematical strategies that make sense to them.  While this allows for each individual student to make sense of numbers and operations in their own way, eventually they will see that some approaches to solving problems are more efficient and reliable than others.  By hearing and seeing how their peers are solving the same problems they are, students start to understand and adopt other more efficient, reliable ways of doing things, using each other as the experts they will seek out for support.

We start sharing our thinking with each other with a Gallery Walk.  In a Gallery Walk students walk around the room reading each other’s posters that explain their thinking with the goal of trying to make sense of what their classmates did.  Before our first Gallery Walk this year, we created a quick chart to remind ourselves of what our posters should include and what the Gallery Walk should look like, sound like, and what our hands do during the walk.


Our first Gallery Walk.


Leaving post it notes for classmates.


Reading our notes.

And then the fun part, The Congress.  This is where we get to share our thinking straight from our brains, with the whole class.  Through these discussions, students celebrate each other’s thinking, ask each other questions, make connections, learn approaches that make sense to them, and grow as mathematicians and as a math community.


Ellie shares her poster.


Nomi and Maia show how they took the 1 x 42 array.  Their question was:

Jill paid 42 cents for 7 apples.  What was the cost of 1 apple?

Maia:  Each cube is one penny.

Nomi:  I give one penny to each apple.  Then I give one more penny to each apple, that’s two cents now.

She continues until all of the “pennies” have been distributed…


And it becomes a 6 x 7 array.


Lizzie:  Wow!  6 x 7 is 42 and now I see how that works!

Cooper:  It’s, it’s division!  Look!

And the math community finds their voice.


This was Jada’s sharing of her poster.

Ezra:  I see a pattern between the fraction and the number of friends!

Taz:  I really like how we get to share our thinking and learn from each other.  I never would have done it how Jada did.  That’s so smart.