Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More than one way to skin a cat.

Okay, so I know the title of this blog sounds disguisting.  But its something my family used to say.  It means more than one way of doing something.  (Although why you would ever need to skin a cat, much less need more than one way to do it... I have no idea.  Taxidermy?)


I've been thinking about engagement lately. Mainly because I have to present on this topic on Friday.  So here was my little experiment tonight.

Task 1:

It was okay.  Sorta fun because he got to work on the iPad.  He used his fingers and filled in the blanks.  I noticed that he stumbled over the signs plus and equals; so, I am not sure he has used them very much but he seems to understand the concept of what he's doing but not all of the language.  When I asked him to look back over his work and tell me what he learned he said I see a pattern its A, A, B, C.  2, 2, 5, 0.  So, he was starting to see that there was a pattern. Not exactly the connection I was look for but it shows some thinking.When I asked what he wondered at the end of this activity... He said he didn't wonder anything.  Hum...

Task 2:

He still enjoyed working with the ShowMe app.  At first Elijah took a deep breath when he saw the screen.  He went directly for 5 and 0.  While we had the screen paused he spent a lot of time trying different things on his fingers.  Soon realizing that it was easier just to use one hand... because it already showed that the answer was 5.  My earlier suspicions were confirmed while he was doing this tasks  that he didn't really understand what the + or = symbol meant (or at least its name) because I heard him mix up the terms, add, multiply, and equals as he was thinking aloud and deciding what to circle.  He had an ah-ah moment when he realized that he could add 1 to 2 + 2 because at first he just said, "I know I cannot do 2 + 2 because that only = 4.  I also wish I would have captured/recorded when he talked the number 9.  I wondered what he would do with that.  He put 9 fingers up and said, "Mom, that 9 will never work."
"Why?" I acted confused. He proceeded to explain to me and show on his fingers why 9 was more than 5.  This was interesting for me because it tells me his conceptual understanding of these basic numbers has improved this year.  It also tells me that his schema with looking at numbers (with this activity at least) is limited to addition.  I'd wondered if he would consider subtraction because I didn't tell him he had to add.  I think he just assumed it because of the previous task.  At the end when I asked what he learned he said he already knew about 5 and 0 but he didn't know about the 2 + 2 + 1.  He said that he wondered What would make 10.  After we stopped recording he said he wondered about 10 because he knew 5 + 5 = 10 but wondered now if more things made 10.  (He did however let me know that the Making 10 discussion could wait until tomorrow.)   I really wish I would have recorded the whole conversation so you could hear his think aloud. :-)

Task 3:

Now, he was pretty tired of math by this time.  I wonder what would have happened had I started here and worked the other way.  When I told him that we were going to do one more thing (for him to earn that quarter) he had a little bit of a whine.  Then I told him he was under the math curse. (We'd played this game after reading the book the other day.)  Now came his sneaky little smile.  "Mama, are you gonna ask me to find some math?"  Yes, I am baby.  Told him his tool was the iPad camera and he needed to find anything in the house that made five.  Armed with a camera (and after a few mischievous photos of the dog) he found this.  Jonah's Picture.  He said it was easy.  He looked at it and it was five.  When I asked him what the problem was to go along with it.  He said "Mom, there's no problem.  Its 5.  I look at it and I see 5 drawers."  I didn't argue with him if he said he saw it as a set of five who was I to argue.  But he kept talking about it.  "Its just five drawers. Five and nothing else.  Wait! Mom, nothing is 0."  So I asked if he could show me what he meant.  He said that bottom part looked like it could be a drawer but it wasn't so the dresser showed 5 + 0.  I think from here I would like to see him write it as 5 + 0 or 0 + 5.  I also think he's read to learn a bit more about number bonds.  I think those number bond bracelets would be a good place to go next.  He gets the zero property of addition and is ready to learn about the commutative.  I asked what he wondered now and he said, I wonder if its bedtime.  I'm getting tired.  So, I think it was his stoping point for the night.

*All three of these tasks used the "ShowMe" app.  It is free and has so many possibilities! :-)  Elijah wrote and illustrated his own bedtime story the other night.

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