Tag Archives: Math

Open Response and Math

23 Sep

Over the summer, one of us read way too many math focussed books and not enough fiction.  Then, not content with just reading the books, she often decided that she had to make some organizers to go with the math text.  As Dr. Marian Small is a math guru, she decided to start with her work. Turns out Dr. Small has way more books than anticipated! Anyway, long and boring story cut short, Dr. Marian Small’s Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction was a (relatively) more interesting read and offered some great ideas for math instruction. These included:

  • Turning around a question
  • Asking for similarities and differences
  • Asking for a number sentence
  • Replacing a number with a blank
  • Changing the question

Turning around a question, has the teacher give the answer while the students create the problem or number sentence. Asking for similarities and differences, allows students to discuss how items or concepts are alike or different (pretty self-explanatory concept really!). In asking for a number sentence, students are asked to create sentences that include certain words and numbers.

Now that we are back to school, the studious one of us is regretting her poor judgement in frittering away her time on thoughtful tasks. Her sister very nicely sorted out a stack of mysteries for her to read but did she complete that pile? Noooo. Well, her loss is your gain. If you are interested, below are organizers that will help you use these concepts in your classroom.

Now, go! Find a good mystery to read before it’s too late.


Download the file here: Open Math Questions Student Response BLM Brownlee and Belanger


Rotational Art

21 Jun

During a recent unit on transformations in geometry, we decided to combine math and art. We have done this before with Wassily Kandinsky’s concentric circles and an attempt at a perimeter art. While we would happily do Kandinsky’s circles again, we definitely need to revisit the perimeter art idea!

In art, we had been looking at the Pop Art movement through the works of Jim Dine and Keith Haring and were to continue with a look at Andy Warhol. We decided to take the Warhol lesson and mix it up by adding in the concept of transformations. We focussed on the idea of a 4 quadrant approach, bright colours, images from pop culture and, the requirement to complete one of each transformation. Students needed to reflect, rotate and translate their image. How they did this would be explained in their artwork reflection. Since it was one of those last minute decisions the lesson itself needs some work but the overall idea yielded some great artwork!

Fractions, Decimals, Ratio and Percent

2 Apr

We’re in the process of looking at how fractions, decimals, ratio and percent connect. We started off with our interactive math journals to set the foundation for these concepts and create a place that would help students find answers or review processes –  we also decided to add in a section on relating these to our benchmark percentages.  During the week, we used an activity wherein students coloured a pattern or image on a 100s grid in order to help students visually see the relationships. It also allows students to see another creative connection between art and math.

They enjoyed the activity and it seemed to help them see the relationships. After this however, when we were working on some pattern block fractions tasks, we noticed that the students were struggling with the some of the key concepts.  We were thinking that one part of the problem is that we do often present students with items such as the perfect 100s grid when looking at fractions. Consequently, we started to use fraction talks, to look at different shapes and how to determine the fractions within that shape.

As a next step, we think we will revisit our grid by changing the size or how it has been segmented to see if students can show the changes in their learning. Not certain if we will do this through a fractions talk or have them complete it and record their thinking.  As well, we may adjust our ratio column to look at part to part ratios versus part to whole ratios. We are hoping the second piece will reflect a greater depth of knowledge.