Click here for videos explaining Math Strategies
The above link will connect you to a site which illustrates math strategies that are discussed in class so that you may gain a better understanding of the approaches we are using with addition and subtraction.
Math Investigations is the curriculum tool for mathematics instruction in NISD for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. It offers students opportunities to explore meaningful problems in-depth to solve them creatively and collaboratively with their peers in order to construct personal meaning of mathematics concepts (problem solving and concept-based learning). This approach is very different from that of "more traditional" curriculum tools, which many adults experienced as children and focused on applying formulas, rules, performed procedures and algorithms (skill-based learning). Research shows that when students develop their own ways of solving problems they retain their understanding. When students work together with their peers to solve problems they evaluate approaches and justify their reasoning, leading to deeper understanding and mathematical fluency.
HOW ARE WORD PROBLEMS GRADED?
A Complete Solution to a Word Problem includes: an equation with correct operation (+,-) 2 strategies to model his/her thinking, a correct solution and a complete sentence that answers the question in the problem. Therefore, each problem is 4 points each.
WHY INVESTIGATIONS? This curriculum gives children different ways to express their thinking. After being given situations for problem-solving, students develop strategies for expressing mathematics, allowing ownership of understanding. Through working with peers, students justify and analyze solutions. As a result, they are able to understand important relationships between concepts.
WHY DOES THIS LOOK DIFFERENT FROM WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL? Through Investigations, children develop personal meaning of concepts and learn to reason mathematically. They are not taught to rely on set procedures, formulas and rules that may have no meaning to them. The same concepts are covered as those in traditional textbooks, only the approach is different. Research shows that students who construct math for themselves are going to gain fluency and remember what they have learned. They will also keep trying to make sense of problems.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE IN THE CLASSROOM?
The math workshop contains three parts:
Opening meeting - discuss goals/objectives of lesson; teach a mini-lesson; pose a problem for children to solve based on the mini-lesson
Work period - solve problem(s) from lesson independently or with a group; students continue to work on and develop strategies through a variety of ways (examples: math games, word problems, critical thinking projects)
Closing meeting - class regroups to discuss strategies used during workshop, share student work, discuss misunderstandings, make connections and reflect on their learning
WILL MY CHILD LEARN BASIC FACTS? Yes. With experience, each child will learn to remember facts by constructing sense of them. Our focus is on fluency rather than memorization, as it is a higher level thinking process.
For example: just knowing that 4+5=9 does not show fluency. However, if a child can verbalize: Since 4+4=8 and 5 is one more than 4, so 4+5 = 9, shows that they have a deeper number sense and fluency.
HOW DO ABSENCES AFFECT MY CHILD? When your child is absent, it is extremely difficult to make up work because mini-lessons and communication that take place during the math workshop are missed. Many lessons also relate in Investigations, therefore, when a child is absent he/she does not see connections being made, and as a result, has a harder time participating in class discussions. It is important to limit absences to a minimum so that your child may gain a complete understanding of concepts being explored in the classroom.