Friday, January 16, 2015

Addition Machines

In kindergarten, we have been working toward understanding addition.  Students will need to show that they can add numbers together fluently; solve word problems by using addition; decompose numbers less than or equal to 10; and represent addition in various way.  When deciding where to begin, I thought the most important point I need to address is the concept of addition.  I am confident if the students understand the concept of addition as putting two or more numbers together to find a sum, they will then be well on their way to meeting the other goals. (All revolving around the ability to add)  How can you add if you do not truly understand the concept of addition?  

Therefore, the planning to create an "addition machine" began.  At first, I thought, this will be amazing!  The students will LOVE creating a machine.  It will allow them to work together and truly understand what is happening when they add numbers together.  Then, reality started to set in.  Kindergarteners using fasteners, cups, toilet paper rolls, and poster board nearly completely independently would be potentially chaotic, not to mention would their "addition machines" even work!?! 

Well, I went with my gut and hoped for the best!  I thought that even if they did not create successful machines the process and effort to create one would be far more impactful than any ordinary lesson.

It was AMAZING!

Students were so incredibly engaged in the task.  They worked brilliantly with their partners and exceeded my expectations.  They asked if they could make their machine differently than the example I had started modeling in front of them.  A few groups even worked to make machines that would add three and even four numbers together to create one sum!  Even more exciting, there was not a single group that got frustrated or gave up.  They actually asked me for materials to make another one at home!

Below is a video of two students explaining how to use their machine:
video

Then, I asked them "So, what is your whole equation?"

Here is their response:
video

They both knew the equation right away!  One said, 7+3=10 and the other said, 3+7=10.  Maybe that leads me to a discussion about how you can reverse the equation. :) I love that he wanted to show me that they added the equal sign!

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