During your classroom visit, observe the solution strategies used by children when trying to solve word problems, or any other math problem. Describe the problem, the strategies and the follow-up lessons you might plan if you were the teacher in that classroom. Please be specific, and include your school’s name, grade you are observing and date(s) you observed.
Problem Solving & Strategies
- School: J.P. Holland Elementary School
- Grade: Second
- Teacher: Mrs. Cook
- Classroom setting: The classroom is definitely an inclusive environment. There are about five students who are English Language Learners (ELL), two that are special education, and a handful that have behavioral implications.
The class schedule for the day didn’t allow me to observe the math lesson specifically, so instead while the students were at lunch I took it upon myself to grab one of their math textbooks and evaluate the work that they completed. The class uses Investigations by Pearson to study the material, focusing on simple math equations and placement.
Problem: Sally has 10 crayons. Jake gave her 12 more crayons. How many crayons does Sally have now? In this problem, two groups are being combined fundamentally asking what 10 + 12 is. A student recognized that 10 + 10 was 20, thus she wrote down that 10 + 12 would be 2 more making the total 22. To confirm her answer she drew a picture, with 10 lines for the first ten crayons, and another 12 for the second group. After she completed the drawing she counted the total which was 22, confirming her original answer. Seeing her work allowed me to see that she understood the material just enough, but still needed back up just to make sure her addition was correct. In an effort to highlight the important lesson learned in this problem, I would make it a priority to re-introduce the problem and perhaps give the total (22) and the amount of crayons that were taken away (12) asking what amount of crayons were left after Jake took his.