Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Explain Everything

In order for students to develop a deeper understanding for math concepts, explaining their thought process and steps is crucial (Mathematical Practice #3: I can explain my thinking about a math problem). This week, with the help of Mrs. Sayre, the 1st graders used an app called “Explain Everything” to explain their thinking and the steps they took to solve subtraction problems.
Background: Last week the students used various manipulatives to create and solve subtraction problems. We called it “Subtraction in Action!” Four different stations were set up: Lego Subtraction, Squash It, Subtraction Machine, and Subtraction Hoop. To learn more about these stations check out Mrs. Hall's blog post. 

Using Explain Everything, we took a closer look at our subtraction in action to discuss what was happening during the activity. The students had a picture for each station they visited last week. On each page of Explain Everything, they could record the steps they took to subtract.
After the students recorded their thinking, the recording was compressed and saved for me to listen to. Now I can listen to all my students’ ideas, as well as clarify any misconceptions some of them might have had. I have always enjoyed listening to my students explain their thinking in math. There are plenty of different ways to arrive at the same solution. Some ideas show a deeper level of understanding, while others might show a more simplistic approach. Listen to a few of my students’ thinking below!


As they continued to talk about the process and steps they took to complete their subtraction problems, some students acknowledged they used similar words over and over,  like “left over”. They then connected this with why we like to circle the words “left over” as a clue to subtract when we are solving word problems in class!

Through reasoning, students were able to make sense of their math problems and developed a deeper level of understanding towards their learning. Allowing students to discuss their thought process by using the ipads made for a highly engaged and exciting environment. Thanks again to Mrs. Sayre for helping set up this awesome activity!

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