Posts Tagged ‘problem-solving’

The Power of Talking Through Steps in a Process!

Recently, I came across some fantastic Seesaw Activities compiled by Carrie Kunert, Beaverton School District Innovation Specialist. WOW! What a wonderful resource for all ages and subjects!

I’d been asked by a third grade teacher to review Seesaw with the students because some seemed to be unsure about the sequence of posting to their journal. Wanting to do something with math, I was excited to come across Carrie’s collection. For the first class, I chose an addition algebraic puzzle. I thought we’d breeze through this and move on to multiplication.

Puzzles from

They quickly caught onto the process needed to determine the values. It just took longer than expected to record the steps needed to solve. For the next two classes, I redid the above puzzle, changing it to multiplication but using the same symbols.

I was a bit surprised at some of the explanation, especially since everyone knew the answers. But, thinking about it, how often to we ask children to explain their thinking? It definitely takes practice! Below are a couple examples of those who had no trouble solving; they just found it difficult to put it into words.

Here are samples of students who understood the sequence of events when explaining – that the second sentence MUST be solved before any other values can be determined!

The more I ask students to reflect or explain, the more I realize the importance of doing this. If a child can explain the process, chances are his/her understanding is solid.

Math Ahoy! app, First Graders, and College Students

We love having our TCU college students visit our computer lab. It provides extra hands and more individualized attention for the little ones! Last week, in conjunction with the first grade studies of basic facts and geography, we introduced the Math Ahoy! app to the students.

Math Ahoy! is a fun app that promotes problem-solving and addition skills as students travel the world in a pirate’s ship, collecting treasure chests of gold! What child wouldn’t enjoy becoming a pirate for the day? Below is the trailer introducing the app.

On Wednesday, in addition to 21 first graders in the lab, we had 8 TCU students and two other adults observing the class! Quite a full house! But the college students joined the little ones on the floor and guided them through the app’s instructions. There was constructive chatter as everyone talked about which direction to travel in order to avoid the King’s Ships and to gather the gold. I loved hearing children announce that they had reached Africa or South America; the app helps with geography too!

Math Ahoy with 1st Graders from Trinity Valley School on Vimeo.

The students gave the app a hearty thumbs up and their teachers loved the thinking that occurred throughout the game!