mathematical thinking


Math Congress: Space for everyone to get on and off the subway

Math Congress is a structure that we use often at Opal School in which children are invited to communicate their thinking, their strategies, their solutions, “aha” moments, and proofs to their mathematical community. As teachers, even with the clearest of intentions, Math Congress requires us to embrace uncertainty as we are never completely sure what […]

By MaryGage Davis | Intermediate

Valuing differences through Brain Buddy work

As a primary team, we have organized our intentions for the school year around the idea of the “We that I am.” One of our big questions within this frame is: What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?  Recently, first grade math paused from the counting work we […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary

Collaboration and Community

One of the goals and expectations that the primary team pinpointed in our intention letter this year was, “to develop strategies that contribute to the quality of the community by collaborating with others to construct ideas and create new knowledge.”  This has remained at the forefront of my mind in first grade math, as the first […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary

Early Fraction Math Work: Math Congress

To launch our work with fractions, students were told a story about another class of fourth graders who were going on a small group field trips around New York City. They were sent with submarine sandwiches for lunch. Because the sandwiches were so big, they did not bring a whole sandwich for each child. Below […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate

Playing With Mathematical Theories Together

The first graders have been exploring these questions: How big is a number? How do numbers work together to make new numbers? These big, overarching questions provide the doorways into the mathematical landscape for children to theorize and investigate concepts such as addition, subtraction, skip counting, unitizing, and place value. As teacher-researchers that believe in […]


Authentic Inquiry and real life challenges

“What kind of blocks does each classroom need?” “What is the space like where they will store their blocks?” “How are the pre-schoolers using the blocks?” These were questions asked by the group of students charged with researching the four Opal classrooms which had asked us to build them hollow blocks.  While the majority of […]