I volunteer as a “Friend of the Bulldog Marching Band” and one of the jobs is to fill up water bottles before the game. Putting these carriers in an organized manner, I realized that this could lead to a great number talk. I posted this picture on Twitter and I showed this to my students as well just to see how they counted. This is the first time that I’ve done a Number Talk with my own picture and it amazes me how students find other ways to count.
Here are the different ways that one of my classes counted, along with some people from Twitter (Travis @MrTravisDrake, Kelly @kfitch831, and Russell @ParksideIC):
I did this Number Talk early in the semester (early September) and I strongly believe that doing Number Talks like these early on sets up for a great semester. It shows that math isn’t about obtaining an answer and then going on to the next question, but rather, analyzing that there are many ways to get to the same answer. Math is beautiful, but if we rush through problems, we lose the opportunity to see its beauty.
I later found out that a 3rd grade teacher from Wisconsin (Miranda Zygiel @HSSD_mirazygi) used this image for a Number Talk and I got SO excited. This was still when I was a couple months into Twitter and this was one of the moments that stood out to me that shows how powerful Twitter is. Someone who I didn’t know was using my material, and getting feedback of how her students counted just made my day.
This is what her 3rd grade class found:
I love the authenticity of bringing your own story into the classroom and I hope to bring more of these into the classroom. Not only do I believe that Number Talks is incredibly strong, I also believe that we need to start doing these early on to change student mindsets quickly. If we show them that we value creative, deep thinking over speed, it makes the classroom have a more relaxed atmosphere.