This post inspired by The Teaching Momster. To read more about algebraic thinking in the intermediate grades, check out this week’s Math Madness Wednesday by clicking the red badge below.
If you haven’t heard of Hands On Equations by now, listen up. Hands On Equations will rock your world! Seriously! I believe this system or program or curriculum supplement came out in the mid 1980s. In a nutshell, students learn to solve algebra expressions using game pieces like pawns and number dice. It’s amazing, and a quick Google search will gather all you could ever want to know about it.
But wait, there’s more. Because I am new to teaching math this year, I watch a lot of YouTube. I search something I’m about to teach and watch an expert teacher before I even try it out in my classroom. I can’t tell you how helpful this has been. Upon searching for Hands On Equations lessons, I happened to find a teacher who…get this…has recorded all of the lessons! Oh my! She is an angel sent from above. I am writing her a thank you letter as we speak. The lessons are about 10 minutes long and I have used the first 4. Why play the clip instead of teaching the lesson myself? One, students love YouTube. Two, I get to observe a master teacher. Three, I can walk around and intervene, and the lesson keeps going. I carry my mouse with me around the room and pause every so often to have my students work an example independently before she solves it on the video. After each lesson (video clip), students work on 10 problems. All of this takes about 35 minutes a day and is supplementing our regular curriculum.
If you are looking to build algebraic thinking skills with your intermediate students, here’s a link to some puzzles.
Thanks for stopping in!
–The Pensive Sloth