Author Archives: Journey2helpchildrenwithmath

3rd edition – Time 4 Fractions – Problem #4 – Making toys

My daughter and I went on a 12 week- journey the past two years to explore Fractions. We are doing it again this Fall. I am updating the posts from our previous journeys,  in case you want to join us this year. Click here if you want to know more about the journey.

Here is Problem #4, a second measurement division problem.


Time 4 Fractions –  Problem #4 – Making ToysMsButternutt

Level Yellow : Ms. Butternut makes wooden toys. She has 5 wheels. She needs 2 wheels to make a motorcycle. How many motorcycles can she make?

Level Orange : Ms. Butternut makes wooden toys. She has 14 wheels. She needs 4 wheels to make a car. How many cars can she make?

Level Red : Ms. Butternut makes wooden toys. She has 31 wheels. She needs ____ wheels to make a heavy truck. How many heavy trucks can she make?


What to do as a parent ?

As always, invite your child to solve one of the problems, and listen to his/her way of solving it. He/she can make sense of the problem while using small objects (such as buttons, marbles, etc, and small containers) or drawing a picture. He/she may write an equation. Each child should pick the problem that he/she feels like exploring.

With all Levels, Ms Butternut has a left over of wheels. (Level Yellow: 2 motorcycles can be made, with 1 wheel left, Level Orange: 3 cars can be made, with 2 wheels left).

If your child calls out the answer right away, remind him/her that the answer is fine, but how it was obtained is even more important in this journey. How would he/she explain it to a younger child? Could he/she represent the problem with a drawing? a diagram? Using small objects ?

When your child is done, invite him/her to share his/her reasoning with you. By now, you know the routine, right ?  :-)

Sharing my experience

It is quite interesting to me, so curious about children’s mathematical thinking, to follow my child’s reasoning over the years.

A couple of years ago,  she explored Problem4Level Orange with drawing 14 wheels, taking away groups of 4. With such strategy, she quickly saw the equation that could be associated to her reasoning: a repeated subtraction (which is how division can be seen). She used the left over to make a bicycle, but your child may state that Ms Butternut has 2 wheels left. With Level Red (31wheels, 6 wheels / truck), she drew tallies (by groups of 5) to represent 31 wheels. Then, as previously, she took away groups of 6, to end up with 5 trucks (and a tricycle i.e 3 wheels left). Now, I do not know how she did not get confused with taking groups of 6 out of her tiny groups of 5 tallies, but she did say along the process that  “maybe using tallies was not such a good idea”. It is good for kids to have opportunities to discover on their own that some representations may work better in some situations, and less in others. Indeed, it is going to be up to them to select the most useful one depending on the problempb4.

 

Last year, she explored Level Red as well, by but she added the groups of wheels needed for one vehicle (e.g. 6 wheels to make a truck) until she reached the total number of wheels available.

Now this year, she went back to an approach similar to what she did 2 years ago, drawing 31 wheels, and grouping them by 6, to make 5 trucks, with one wheel left.

I just found it fascinating to see the various ways a child may solve a problem, leading him/her to exploring  the relationship between all operations. Who knows what next year will bring in Rosie’s world.

I am also sharing below the work of a friend’s child, a 5th grader solving Level Red. In parallel with writing the equation, and labeling each part of it, the child also explained the model she could use to solve the problem.

Pb4_LevelRed

Enjoy !


Reference:

Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.



3rd Edition – Time 4 Fractions – Problem #3 – Baskets of eggs

My daughter and I went on a 12 week- journey the past two years to explore Fractions. We are doing it again this Fall. I am updating the posts from our previous journeys,  in case you want to join us this year. Click here if you want to know more about the journey.

Hope your child had fun exploring Problem #1, and Problem #2, two multiplication problems. Here is Problem #3, a measurement division problem (also called quotative division problem), our second step towards Equal Sharing problems (Empson & Levi, 2011, p 9).


Time 4 Fractions –  Problem #3 – Baskets of eggs

 Yellow : Mr Moose has 4 eggs and some baskets. He wants to put 2 eggs in each basket. How many baskets can he fill?

 Orange : Mr Moose has 12 eggs and some baskets. He wants to put 3 eggs in each basket. How many baskets can he fill?

 Red : Mr Moose has 20 eggs and some baskets. He wants to put ___ eggs in each basket. How many baskets can he fill?


What to do as a parent ?

As with Problem #1, invite your child to solve one of the problems, and listen to his/her way of solving it. He/she can make sense of the problem while using small objects (such as buttons, marbles, etc, and small containers) or drawing a picture. He/she may write an equation. Each child should pick the problem that he/she feels like exploring.

With Level Yellow and Orange, all eggs will be dispatched in a basket, and Mr Moose will have no egg left. With Level Red, invite the child to pick the number of eggs he/she wants to put in each basket. Depending on the number he/she picks, though, please note that Mr Moose may have some eggs left.

If your child calls out the answer right away, remind him/her that the answer is fine, but how it was obtained is even more important in this journey. How would he/she explain it to a younger child? Could he/she represent the problem with a drawing? a diagram? Using small objects ?

 

Enjoy following his/her way of thinking !

Sharing my experience

  • Click here to see a video we did last year.  Just remember it is just an example of how a child may explore the problem. Your child may approach it differently!
  • An observation I found quite comforting regarding our journey is my child saying “You see, the more eggs you put, the less baskets you need !”, noticing the relationship between the number of items, the number of groups of items and the number of items in each group.  Do you see how this kind of connection relates somewhat to fractions, and the fact that sharing an item in 8 (1/8) provides smaller pieces than sharing the same item in 2  (1/2), i.e. the number 1/8 is smaller than the number 1/2 ? It is all about mathematical relationships.
  • I am also including a example of how a child, like…. Rosie,  may represent her thinking on paper. The picture on the left may look “messy” for some,  but I think it illustrates well what may be going on in a child’s brain while making sense of a problem. The twenty eggs are presented in four groups of five before an equation is written (a division, but also a repeated addition (making group of 5s from the 20 eggs), a repeated subtraction (taking away groups of 5s out of the 20 eggs).

Problem3

Have fun, and see you next week for Problem #4 !


Reference:

Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.



3rd Edition – Time 4 Fractions – Problem #2 – Gardening

My daughter and I went on a 12 week- journey the past two years to explore Fractions. We are doing it again this Fall. I am updating the posts from our previous journeys,  in case you want to join us this year. Click here if you want to know more about the journey.


Hope you had fun with your child exploring Problem 1. Here is Problem #2, a second multiplication problem, before introducing division problems next week. Please remember that the goal of our journey is to provide children with plenty of opportunities to explore fractions through Equal Sharing problems (Empson & Levi, 2011), and solving multiplication and division problems will prepare them to do so (Empson & Levi, 2011, p 9).


Time 4 Fractions –  Problem #2 – Gardening

Level Yellow : Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted 3 rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were 2 seeds. How many pumpkin seeds did Mr. Purple plant?

Level Orange: Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted 5 rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were 4 seeds. How many pumpkin seeds did Mr. Purple plant? 

Level Red : Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted ____ rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were ____ pumpkin seeds. How many pumpkin seeds did Mr. Purple plant ?


What to do as a parent ?

As with Problem #1, invite your child to solve one of the problems, and listen to his/her way of solving it. He/she can make sense of the problem while using small objects (such as buttons, marbles, etc, and small containers) or drawing a picture. He/she may write an equation. Each child should pick the problem that he/she feels like exploring. With Level Red, invite the child to pick numbers he/she feels like comfortable using. For instance, if your child picks 5 pumpkin seeds, he/she may end up counting the seeds by 5, or he/she may use from memory the 5s times table (i.e 5 x 12 if he/she picks 12 rows of seeds).

If your child calls out the answer right away, remind him/her that the answer is fine, but how it was obtained is even more important in this journey. How would he/she explain it to a younger child? Could he/she represent the problem with a drawing? a diagram? Using small objects ?

Sharing my experience

I thought it would be helpful this week to provide some work samples I gathered in the past 3 years from Rosie and the daughters of a dear friend of mine.  No teaching was involved, the girls were just invited to solve the problems in a way that made sense to them. It may give you an idea of strategies a child may use. Please remember that I am sharing these samples to help you see what a child may come up with, not as examples of what a child should come up with :-)

Level Yellow : Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted 3 rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were 2 seeds. How many pumpkin seeds did Mr. Purple plant?

  • Making sense of the problem with a picture. The child wrote then both a repeated addition and a multiplication.

FullSizeRender-1

Level Orange – “Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted 5 rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were 4 seeds. How many pumpkin seeds did Mr. Purple plant?”

  •  Making sense of the problem with marbles and paper.  The child counted the marbles by 1s’. Your child may count by 4s’ ?Problem 2 - 5 groups of 4
  •  Making sense of the problem with a picture representing the rows of pumpkin seeds. The child wrote, as an equation, a repeated addition. Your child may write a multiplication (4 x 5 = 20) instead?Problem 2 - 5 groups of 4
  • Making sense of the problem with a different visual representation, an array. The child wrote then both a repeated addition and a multiplication.

FullSizeRender

Level Red – “Mr. Purple loves gardening. He planted ____ rows of pumpkin seeds. In each row, there were _____  pumpkin seeds”.

  • Making sense of the problem with Duplos® (5 rows, 8 seeds). The child counted the blocks by 1 up to 15, and noticed that she was counting by 5. She started over, counting by 5, and answered 40 pumpkin seeds. This sure was fun to watch a child, noticing a pattern of counting, changing her strategy to a more efficient one.

Problem 2 - 8 groups of 5 (Duplos)

  • Making sense of the problem with buttons. (7 rows, 5 seeds). The child also wrote, as an equation, a multiplication 7 x 5 = 35.
    IMG_0525
  • Making sense of the problem  (8 rows, 5 seeds) with a picture representing the rows of pumpkin seeds, drawing the seeds in the first row, and writing the number of seeds instead on the next rows. Always interesting to see how a child may switch from a drawing to a more symbolic representation.

Problem 1 - 8 groups of 5

  • Making sense of the problem  (2 rows, 4 seeds) with a picture representing the rows of pumpkin seeds, writing, as an equation, an addition.

IMG_0527

 

Also, here are some examples of questions I asked to follow the child’s reasoning:

  • Tell me about what you did.
  • Could you tell me about the marbles you used ?
  • I see you wrote the equation 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 20. Could you show me on your drawing where the 4 comes from? The 20 ? Why did you add 4 five times? What does the symbol “+” mean? And the symbol “=”?
  • You said “20”. 20 what? Could you tell me the unit?

No video this week, as the problem is similar to the one explored last week.

Have fun, and see you next week for Problem #3 !


Reference:

Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.



3rd Edition – Time 4 Fractions – Problem #1 – Walking along a pond

Please click here to follow Time 4 Fractions.

Welcome to our first problem ! This week will be a warm-up, as I want to make sure we are all aboard and comfortable with pursuing the journey from home. Bear with me with the length of this post, next week will be much shorter.

The goal of this journey is to provide opportunities for children to explore word problems in “any way that they wish” (Carpenter et al, 2015, page 80), extend their reasoning skills, and gradually strengthen their foundation in fractions. Each problem is differentiated to target all elementary grades and is quite short. A child may be done within 5-10 min, or may decide to take more time to fully explore it with a visual representation and manipulatives. It is not a test, it is not a race. Week after week, problem after problem, children strengthen their reasoning skills by creating their own strategies to solve problems.

When children receive their formal fraction instruction in class, they will have a stronger background to build upon. If you decide to take the journey with us, from home, I hope you will enjoy observing your child’s thinking as much as I do with mine. It is fascinating. They explore. We listen.

So, here we go:


Problem #1 –  Walking along the pond

  • Level Yellow : Mr. Wood is walking along a pond. He sees 3 waterlily pads. On each pad, there are 2 frogs. How many frogs does Mr. Wood see ?
  • Level Orange: Mr. Wood is walking along a pond. He sees 4 giant waterlily pads. On each pad, there are 5 frogs. How many frogs does Mr. Wood see ?
  • Level Red : Complete the problem with the numbers of your choice. Mr. Wood is walking along a pond. He sees ____ giant waterlily pads. On each pad, there are ___ flies. How many flies does Mr. Wood see ? (e.g. 10 pads and 5 flies; 12 pads and 8 flies; 13 pads and 21 flies, etc.)

What to do as a parent ?

Invite your child to solve one of the problems, and listen to his/her way of solving it. He/she can make sense of the problem while using small objects (such as buttons, marbles, etc, and small containers) or drawing a picture. He/she may write an equation. I purposely stepped away from grade level. Each child should pick the problem that he/she feels like exploring.

If your child calls out the answer right away, remind him/her that the answer is fine, but how it was obtained is even more important in this journey. How would he/she explain it to a younger child? Could he/she represent the problem with a drawing? a diagram? Using small objects ?

If your child is not used to solving multiplication problems, you may have to read the problem again, and say things like “I am wondering if these cups and buttons could help us solve the problem” or “Do you think it would help to draw the situation? What should we draw?”. Level Yellow is great for that. Just resist to showing him/her how you would solve the problem.

I am including a link to 2 videos that we did a while ago. Just bear with the French accent, the camera made me quite uncomfortable… :
  • Video Level Yellow : this short video (2 min) shows the material we use at home, and how a child may solve Level Yellow with a drawing
  •  Video Level Orange : this one (3 min) is an example of a child solving Level Orange with manipulative

These videos are just examples, but I hope they help you see what can be done at home. It is all about the exploration. Your child may not use the same approach, but as long as he/she solve the problem a way that makes sense to him/her, it is all that matters.

One more thing: you are right, there is no fraction involved in this problem. Just remember that we are going to explore the concept gradually. We will start with  2 weeks on Multiplication problems (see problem #1) above. Then, we will continue with 2 weeks on Measurement Division problems (Carpenter et al, 2015).

E.g. An elf has 10 berries and some bags. He wants to put 2 berries in each bag. How many bags can he fill?

Finally, we will explore Partitive Division problems and Equal Sharing problems, the core of our fractions exploration (Epson & Levi, 2011).

E.g. An elf has 15 berries. He puts the berries into 3 bags with the same number in  each bag. How many berries are in each bag ?
 E.g. Two elves want to share 5 berries so that each of them gets the same amount. How many berries would each get?

Please, feel free to comment or email at journey2helpchildrenwithmath(at)gmail(dot)com if you have any question about our journey. The more feedback I receive, the more complete the next post will be !


References:

  • Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Franke, M., Levi, L. and Empson S. (2015). Children’s Mathematics, Second Edition: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN-13:978-0325052878.
  • Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.

Our 3rd edition of Time 4 Fractions is ready to start: all aboard !

Please click here to follow Time 4 Fractions.

I am quite excited about starting our 3rd edition of Time 4 Fractions in the coming weeks. I should be able to update the posts from last year significantly, since I went to the conference dedicated to Cognitively Guided Instruction in June and I am taking a course on Children’s thinking this semester as a doctoral student.

As you may remember, I started Time 4 Fractions two years ago, after I read the book “Extending Children’s Mathematics – Fractions and Decimals” (Epson & Levi, 2011) as a M.Ed. student, thinking “This IS the way I would have liked to explore fractions! “. An ah-HA! moment, a true eye-opening: building up meaning for fractions through equal sharing problems. A wonderful approach to pursue at School. But also at home, I believe: the more opportunities to extend math reasoning, the better.

Over the twelve coming weeks, I am going to post a word problem that will take the kids to slowly, gradually, explore the concept of fractions. We will start our journey with multiplication problems (yes, even with lower graders, click here if you are not sure why !), division problems, then, finally equal sharing problems, the core of our journey, and the true beginning of our fraction exploration. The sequence of problems is based on the reading of two books, Children’s Mathematics (Carpenter et al, 2015) and Extending Children’s Mathematics – Fractions and Decimals” (Epson & Levi, 2011).

Whether your child is in lower grade or upper grade, I hope you join us. I share what I do with my own child as a illustration of what a child may do, but by no mean as what a child should do. It is not a test, it is not a race. Week after week, problem after problem, children practice their reasoning skills by creating their own strategies to solve problems.

In the previous year, I found it quite convenient to put together a “math box”. You may want to do the same before we start !

  • paper and pencils. Markers are also helpful to connect a visual representation to an equation.
  • manipulatives to model the problem.  You do not need the base-Ten blocks. Marbles, buttons can do the trick. I like Legos® and Duplos®, as you can stack them in Tens.
  • Containers (e.g. paper cups, Tupperware®), to model problems involving groups of items.
  • A stack of paper (e.g. blank flashcards), to explore fractions, by cutting parts of a whole, and putting them back together.Our math box

 

Most important, I will be here to support you in the journey. Please, feel free to comment or email at journey2helpchildrenwithmath(at)gmail(dot)com if you have any question about our journey. The more feedback I receive, the more complete the next post will be ! Let’s build up a community of people supporting at home what our children learn during Math instruction !

Off we go !

References:

  • Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Franke, M., Levi, L. and Empson S. (2015). Children’s Mathematics, Second Edition: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN-13:978-0325052878.
  • Empson, S. E., and Levi, L. (2011). Extending Children’s Mathematics: Fractions and Decimals. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann. ISBN-13: 978-0325030531.

How Many #3? In Beaufort, NC

If you want to start our journey “How Many?” from the beginning, please click here. The goal is to look around  and ask our children:”How many?”. It is up to them to count whatever they want. As always, I hope it helps you see all the counting that can be done around. Search #unitchat on Twitter to find some more !

I took the picture below a few weeks ago and was curious to hear what a child would count. I tried with Rosie, 8, last week, and we had indeed a fun discussion around counting numerals, letters and words. She started counting the numerals written in the arabic numeral system (e.g. 1  7  0  9), and added the numerals written in the roman numeral system (e.g. XII, II).  Then, she counted the letters on the top of the clock (e.g. T   O   W   N , etc), and noticed that the roman numeral system used on the clock was based on …. letters. More letters to count!  We compared the 4 numerals in 1 number (1709) with the 4 letters in 1 word (town). We also talked for a while about the roman numeral system as we read a book mentioning it not so long ago (if you don’t remember, it is here). What is interesting with the clock is that 4 is written as IIII (i.e. 4 ones) . Often, it is written as  IV (i.e. 5 minus 1) similarly to the representation on the clock of the  VI (i.e. I on the right of the V to represent 5 plus 1),  IX (i.e. I on the left of the X to represent 10 minus 1) and the XI (i.e. I on the right of the X to represent 10 plus one). But in this case, if 4 is written as IIII, why 9 is not written as… VIIII ?

It was indeed an interesting picture to discuss, you may want to give it a try.

So:  “How many?”

Beaufort

 

 


Ending Summer & Starting School

Quick update.

As many of us, our past couple of weeks have been busy switching gears from a low-key Summer to a busy school year. I am in my 3rd week of graduate school, the kiddos are in their first week of school. It is official, Summer is over.

We had fun doing math all over Summer, exploring a word problem daily, counting items all around and reading books from the library. So I will just keep on going: exploring more word problems, counting more items and reading more books :-)

We will also start our Fall journey Time 4 Fractions (3rd edition !)  soon. I am taking an amazing class on children’s thinking this semester,  I cannot wait to update our journey.

Fall season, here we come !