One of my goals this year is to focus on “rich” math problems. We are discussing rich problems during my math professional development (PD) and discussing different strategies to help students think about problem solving differently. During vertical grade level conversations, I was talking Shelly, a first grade teacher. Shelly is super smart about math because she understands elementary math because she has taught 4th grade and is now teaching first grade. I always learn some new instructional ideas that I can take away and apply to my classroom.

She recently asked if our classes could be math buddies, so yesterday we joined her class to focus on measurement. Both sets of students traced their foot and cut it out for their pattern. My class loved this activity and was a little surprised when that was their morning seat work. Then I let them know that we were going to have first grade math buddies-they were super excited! Once we were in the first grade room, the students measured their foot by using cubes known as “units.” As you can see from the picture, the students were then challenged to find a set of feet that were between 40-50 units. This was interesting to observe all of the different strategies that the mixed groups chose.

*Some groups added all the units for one large unit. (picture above)

*Several groups used the 100 chart to add the value of each foot.

*A few groups added them together which was a HUGE step for first graders.

*One group split the feet into pairs and then added them.

I am super excited that our 5th graders are going to have math buddies this year-let the exploration begin.

I am a teacher and am creating math buddies this year. For their first big project, I want them to explore the ways in which “10″ is important in our number system. Ideas to get the thoughts flowing?!

Hey there, Bridgett Wonder! Thanks for sharing your comment about math buddies– it sounds liked a WONDERful idea! Wonderopolis is so proud of the super educators who act as Lead Ambassadors for Wonderopolis! They share ideas, resources and creative ways to use Wonderopolis in and out of the classroom. You can find all their blog posts here: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder-year-2012/

The Caplin Family posted about math buddies in the classroom: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder-year-2012/math-buddies-are-wonderful/! This could be very helpful to you as you and your students begin to Wonder about numbers!