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Kidwatching Report

A closer look at one childs interactions with math, grade 4


2014
Personal information including names has been changed for privacy protection.
All other information remains the same.

KIDWATCHING PART II
I. Data
A. Observations
August 27, 2014 Getting to Know Indigo
As a child
Likes to read. Current favorite is the Harry Potter series.
Went to a theme park this summer with her aunt and grandma.
Her father is a sports coach at a local high school.
She sometimes reads with her sister.
Her hobbies are reading, dancing (hiphop and ballet), playing piano and violin.
Her favorite singers are Becky G and Taylor Swift.
As a learner
Her favorite subjects are art (especially clay and painting) and math.
When working on assignments, she prefers group projects so she can work with others.
Visuals like writing on the board and drawing pictures help her learn better.
As a mathematician
She really likes multiplication and looks forward to learning how to do long division.
She feels confident in math (that is why it is one of her favorite subject).
August 27, 2014 Windows and Towers Task
Indigo notices patterns quickly (as the number of floors increases by 1, the number of
windows increases by 4).
She continues using blocks to solve problems, checking her work.
On the 7-floor tower, she starts solving without the blocks, using multiplication.
Uses repeated addition to get the solution for the 15-floor tower starting with the
number she knows, the 10-floor tower, and adding +4 five times.
A class-wide decision was made to add skylights Indigo added a new column to her
paper and added one to her previous data.
For double towers, the inside windows confuse her at first, she recounts many times
before remembering that since they are not visible, they do not count as windows.
She builds the double towers up through the 7-floor tower, counting each window and
checking her work against the established pattern.
Beginning with the 8-floor tower, she using complete number strategies, doing repeated
addition (+6).
Double checks/corrects work when her answer does not follow the pattern.
Uses pattern (+6) to figure out 9- and 10-block double towers.
She seems to really enjoy math and want to figure out the problems on her own.
Recognizes both addition and multiplication patterns.
Begins extra worksheet provided and gets excited when she realizes she can figure out
whether a tower can be built based upon the number of windows.

KIDWATCHING PART II

Recognizes that all towers have even numbers of windows.

September 3, 2014 Operational and Relational Views of the Equals Sign


Betty Quotations. Indigo Quotations.
What does this sign mean
If 3+4=7, 7 is the answer to 3+4.
Can it mean anything different"
It can also mean that it's the same thing...they are the same number, like 5+5=5+5.
Can you complete this problem for me? 5+8=_+12
5+8=13+12 12+13=25
Indigo seems to have an operational view of the equals sign.
September 3, 2014 Arrays and Factors
Indigo began by using the tiles to form groups rather than an array to discover factors of
25.
After trying to divide 25 tiles into 2 groups and then 3 groups unsuccessfully, Indigo tried
5 groups because she said she remembers 5x5=25.
As Indigo began to test 6 as a factor, I asked her to try lining them up in an array instead
of groups.
She realized this model was quicker to test for factors (after deteriniming 9 wasn't a
factor, she could just add a tile on the end of each row to test 10). While testing 10, she
said the higher numbers could not be factors because she would keep having leftovers.
She observed that odd numbers seem to have factors which were odd too and that odd
numbers do not have many factors (like 25). Even numbers have more factors.
Beginning to find factors for 50, she immediately recalled that 2x25=50(she knew this
because of money - quarters).
Since the paper was too short to draw out 1x50, she created a box and labeled it as 1x50.
She then realized that the box she drew was a different factor pair, 5x10.
Indigo did not use the manipulatives to find these factor pairs for 50. She recognized
them in her head and using the graph paper.
She began to test 3 as a factor, using the tiles to form 3 equal groups as before. After she
had counted out around 10 tiles, she said Itd be easier if we did an array again.
After Indigo struggled to think of more numbers to try, I suggested she draw factor
rainbows for 50.
After drawing the 50 factor rainbow with her current factor pairs, she guessed 15 as a
factor. She then corrected herself, No, thats 30.
I think thats about it. she said and began to cut and paste her blocks
Indigos chosen method was to form groups instead of an array to identify factors. This
counting one by one dividing the manipulatives into even groups did slow the process down

KIDWATCHING PART II

which she recognized after trying the array model. I think with more practice that the array
method will become more automatic to her and she will default to it for such tasks. Her
observation about odd numbers seeming to have less factors than even numbers shows that
she is thinking critically about her work, not just finding the right answers. Her mental recall
did help with this exercise as she remembered facts like 5x5 and 2x25. I think Indigo is in a
good position to transition to multiplication, but needs more practice with the array and area
models to secure this understanding.
September 10, 2014 Kidwatching Interview Summaries
Interview Protocol
Subtraction Strategies and Place Value Understanding:
Solve the following problems.
There are 121 fireflies in the meadow. Mrs. Bells class goes into the meadow and catches 86
fireflies in jars. How many fireflies are still in the meadow now?
There are 23 different flavors of jellybeans at the candy store. Nina has tried 9 different
flavors of jellybeans. How many more jellybean flavors does Nina need to try if she wants to
taste every flavor at the candy store?
Explain the second problem using base ten blocks.
Before starting, I asked students to think out loud as they solved problems and told them that
I would ask them questions along the way. I used my questions to try and understand thought
processes, methods used and understanding of subtraction strategies and place value.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Student
Indigo
Reads math problems very carefully to determine what is being asked and how to solve.
Understands how to use the standard algorithm for subtraction.
Has difficulty using and describing usage of Base 10 blocks correctly.
Could not make the connection between carrying the one and the tens place within
standard algorithm.
Kaya
Is willing to try new methods given a bit of encouragement.
Can do some mental math pretty well.
Does not seem to have much motivation to try to figure out/solve problems by herself.
Not in the habit of writing out math work which causes simple computation errors.
Briana
Is spirited and eager to try without fear of mistakes or getting the problem wrong.
After reading the math problem, she paraphrased/summarized it to figure out what
operation/method to do.

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Explained how to use Base 10 blocks very well for ones and tens place problems,
including breaking up a ten rod into unit cubes.
Is easily distracted from the math problem, like what operation she should be doing.
Is in the habit of counting by ones for simpler subtraction problems (13-9).
September 10, 2014 Janets Kidwatching Summary
Interview Protocol
Tyra decided to redecorate her room by putting tiles on one of the walls. The wall was 12
feet wide and 7 feet tall. The tiles are 1 foot wide and 1 foot tall. Find how many tiles she
will need to cover the wall.
Then Tyra decided to put tiles on the wall on the other side. That wall is the same size, but it
has a window. The window is 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall. How many tiles will she need for
that wall?
Materials: I provided pre-made graph paper for all of them. Alisha requested and used tiles,
and I provided them for Indigo as well.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Student
Tyra
Combined numbers when addingstated that 12+7+1+1 is the same as 12+7+2
Drew representationsfirst she drew a row of 12 dots, then she drew a row of 7 dots next
to that. When I asked her to draw another representation, she drew 12 groups, though she
put one in each group until she reached the sum she previously got.
She used key words/phrases to decide the operationhow she said she knew this was an
addition problem
Counts on fingers
Didnt recognize that this problem could be solved as an area/array problem
Alisha
Thought to use manipulatives
Knew that 12+7 = 7+12
Didnt recognize that this was a multiplication problem. He said he wasnt sure whether
this was an addition or multiplication problem, so he picked addition.
Stacked manipulatives into a group of 12 and a group of 7didnt recognize they could
be put into an array
Indigo
Reread problem for understanding
Mentally solved a multiplication fact with a known one (for 7x12, she multiplied 7x11
and then added 7)
To go from 77 to 84, she counted on her fingers
In the second problem, she didnt recognize the window as another array
September 17, 2014 Multi-digit Multiplication

KIDWATCHING PART II

1. My Predictions
First she will count the length and the width of the muffin pan (6 and 18). I think she will
recognize she needs to multiply these numbers, but maybe will break it down into two
separate multiplication problems like 6x10 and 6x8.
For the larger muffin pan problem, I think she will use the same method start by
counting the length and width and then break it down into two smaller multiplication
problems.
2. Summary of Indigos Actions
She rereads the question out loud.
She counts the length and then the width.
She writes out the multiplication problem in standard algorithm form 18 over 6 and
solves it, reaching the correct answer.
She starts to read the problems at the bottom of the page, below the muffin pan. I ask her
to take another look at the first question, explaining that it asks her to solve the problem
by dividing the muffin pan into smaller pieces.
I try to help her get the connection that the standard algorithm of multiplication breaks
down 18x6 by place value in first 6x8 and then 6x10. Try to help her see how it relates to
the muffin pan picture.
She divides muffin pan #2 into 8x6 pan and 10x6 pan. She then divides muffin pan #1
into 2 4x6 pans and 2 5x6 pans. After a little confusion with the computation of these
four smaller pans, she figures out to multiply each smaller pan then add them all together.
Dr. Stewart comes and talks with Indigo about the standard algorithm. He helps her see
and understand place value-standard algorithm connections. Are you really adding four
up there? Or is it four tens? Is it really six times one? Or six times ten?
For the larger muffin pan problem, she first counts the length and width.
She divides the grid into 9 6x5 pans. She solves 6x5, getting 30. Then says each one is
probably 30. She adds 9 30s on top of one another, skip counting up in her head and
ends up with a total of 240.
3. Next Steps
Indigo still defaults to skip counting pretty often. On the second problem she skipcounted by 30s which resulted in a computation error. If she had done the standard
algorithm of 30x9 I am sure she would have reached the correct answer. I would have
liked to work with her more about this, asking her to try another method of finding out
how many muffins 9 6x5 pans could hold.
I would have liked to have more time to experiment with partitioning the arrays many
ways. To help her see that we can make so many small muffin pans but as long as we
follow the same steps practiced during this exercise (multiplying the length and width of
each pan and then adding them together), we will get the same answer.
I definitely would want to do more work to cement understanding of place value
understanding within the standard algorithm. She had an ah-ha moment with Dr.

KIDWATCHING PART II

Stewart, but I think she could use some more practice and questioning to be sure it sinks
into her mind.
Ensuring her understanding of how place value works within the standard algorithm
would definitely give her a solid foundation to move on to multiplying with larger
numbers. I especially like the expanded form of the multiplication algorithm for this,
explicitly showing what all is being multiplied.

September 24, 2014 Van Hiele Levels


1. Level 1 - Analysis
When we first began the triangle task, Indigo drew three different triangles, turning
the page a different direction for the second and third. She said they were the same
because they had three sides. They were different because they were facing different
directions. This seems indicative of Level 0 type thinking, but was the only instance of
such. As we continued working with geometric shapes, she seemed to remember more
about the triangles. When I asked how many triangles she could draw that are different
than one another, she said six. She said she could not remember what types they were
very well obtuse, equal sides and one other way. After performing the quadrilaterals
task, we returned to the triangle task for a second look. I reminded her that she said there
were six different ways to draw triangles, and asked her to draw these other ways. She
carefully used her finger and then a pencil to draw the sides of a fourth triangle. When I
asked her why she was doing that, she said because she was making all of the sides equal.
For the next triangle, she said that all of the sides had different lengths this side is
smaller than this side, which is smaller than this side. For the last triangle, she drew one
that had two sides the same. In retrospect, she drew an equilateral, scalene and isosceles
triangle, remembering the characteristics but not the terms.
For the quadrilaterals task, Indigo labeled figures based upon their properties, a
trademark of Level 1 thinking. She focused upon the lengths of sides and whether there
were one or two pairs of equal sides. She got several characteristics confused, but her
focus remained on their properties. She viewed diamond as a separate shape and left
figures 4, 5, 8 and 13 blank because she said they were diamonds. She did not recognize
relationships or subclasses between various shapes, labeling the squares (2 and 7) as just
squares (not rectangles, rhombuses and parallelograms too). She defined parallelograms
as having one pair of sides which is slanted if you extend the lines on these two
opposite sides, they will cross over one another. She labeled shapes 1 and 15 as
parallelograms. She defined rhombuses as having two long sides and two sides that
dont ever touch. Although Indigo was a bit confused about the descriptions and names
of various shapes, she focused upon the properties of these shapes rather than size and
orientation, exhibiting firm Level 1 thinking.
September 24, 2014 Area & Perimeter
1. Misconceptions
Counting perimeters for non-rectangles was done by ones, haphazardly, which caused many
simple errors.
2. Understandings

KIDWATCHING PART II

Understands these problems dealt with area and perimeter.


Knows that for a rectangle, (L+L+W+W=Perimeter).
Knows that using fact families for a number (36) will give her rectangle shapes.
3. Connections Between Representations
Understands that each tile corresponded to one block on the grid paper.

Notes from Session:


Problem #1
Figures out that 3x12=36 so she makes a 3x12 grid.
Rereads question. Oh, its like area and perimeter!
Doesnt count perimeter of 3x12 grid (the tiles are a bit jumbled).
Uses mental math to find another rectangle possibility 4x6=24, 4x7=28, 4x8=32, 4x9=36.
Makes 4x9 grid.
Counts short ends (4+4) then long ends (9+9) then adds together (26).
Draws 4x9 on grid paper.
Starts to set up grid for 6x6. Gets confused while setting up manipulatives (uneven rows,
loses track of counting).
Makes 3x12 grid (again). Finds perimeter by counting the two different length sides (3 and
12) adding each number to itself, then to each other (3+3, 12+12 -> 6+24).
Too many rails. Maybe I miscounted.
Indigo spends a lot of time counting and recounting rows. The rows/shapes are not neat and
counting errors frequently happen.
Makes a 6x6 square. Gets perimeter, not enough railed used (24).
She moves just two tiles from one side of the 6x6 square and counts again.
Since the 6x6 square is so close to the desired number of rails, she tries moving just a few
tiles around.
She miscounts a few times because the shapes are tricky (rectangles with lots of bumps and
dips) and she does not always count methodically. Sometimes she does not go around CW or
CCW, sometimes she starts counting in the middle of a row and forgets where she began.
Moves one tile out, leaving an empty space surrounded by tiles. I tell her that all of the tiles
must be connected by at least one side, not just corners.
She makes three equal groups of 12 (3x4 rectangles). Lets try 4x8 with 4 extra.
She sets up a 4x8 rectangle and adds the 4 remaining tiles onto the long side, gets the right
number of rails (second solution for #1).
Draws this new shape on the grid paper.
Problem #2
Starts trying to make one long row of tiles. Runs out of room on the table so she stops
(another instance where it seems the manipulatives made things a bit messymaybe I should
have urged her to continue?).
Makes a 3x12 rectangle. Counts perimeter, 30 rails used.
Indigo decides to write down 30 so we can compare the new shape we create to the
previous.

KIDWATCHING PART II

Makes a 4x6 rectangle with a 3x4 set on top of it centered. Number of rails used is 26
(another answer for problem #1).
She draws this new shape on the grid paper.
When transferring shapes from manipulatives to grid paper, she found it easiest to start by
outlining the shape on the grid paper, shading in the outermost row of tiles first.
October 1, 2014 Estimation
The most prevalent estimation strategy exhibited was front-end estimation. On a few
problems, after using front-end estimation, she would add a bit more to her total because she
recognized she had formed an underestimation.
Problem #1
Reads problem out loud, says 5 digit numbers very well.
Rereads the numbers in the problem and recognizes that she needs to add. Decides she should
try to add the front numbers like Ally said.
Mentally adds 26+44 in a standard algorithm-ish way. (6+4=10, then 2+4=6+10so
thats 70,000).
Problem #2
Adds the first digit to itself (1+1) and comes up with an estimate of $2000.
After doing problem #4, she comes back and decides to add the first two digits to itself
(15+15) to reach a more accurate estimation of $3000.
Problem #3
Adds the first digit to itself (9+9), writes down 18 but it doesnt look right so she erases.
Adds 9+9 (first digit) and then adds another 100 since the tens place is high (9). Writes
19000 down (an extra 0).
Problem #4
Adds the first digit to itself (8+8=16) plus another 100 because the tens place is high (8),
computes for two weeks of fundraising, not three. Adds an extra 0 to the end.
Notices there are a lot of zeros, checks back over work and realizes she added too many zeros
to her estimations.
I asked why she changed it, she said since theres two digits we estimated (the ones and tens
place she turned into zeros) we put those on the answer.
Back Problem #1
As she reads through the problem, she underlines numbers and labels (8 slices, 122 fourth
grade students).
Seems unsure what to do first. I ask her what operation the problem is asking her to do, then
she replies were dividing.
Has trouble fighting the temptation/natural habit of writing down work. I ask her to try it in
her head and remind her she can make the numbers easier to do this.
She changes 122 into 100. Using the number of slices (8), she does mental math (10x8=80,
plus 8, plus 8) to discover that 8x12=96. Since it is a little under 100, she decides to add
another pizza to her number. Estimates that 13 pizzas are needed.
I ask and she replies that this was an underestimation.
Back Problem #2
These numbers are very big and it is even harder to remember not to write work down, but
try to do it all in the head.

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Approximates that around 200 pieces of pizza are needed.


Starts skip counting by 8 but gets a bit lost.
Mental math gets confusing 12x8=96, 24x8=102?
Tries starting again. Estimates 300 slices are needed, and there are 10 slices per pizza. 30
pizzas are needed.
She recognizes this is an overestimation. Then she notices that we could have just doubled
the answer we got to the previous problem to get an estimate of 26 pizzas.
Back Problem #3
She reads through the problem and underlines numbers.
She starts to get a little confused with the numbers and what they represent.
Changes 60 into 100. Says 20 buses are needed. (confusion of 200/100)
Restarts there are about 300 students (Estimation of adding the number each bus holds to
students, 60+236). About 30 buses are needed.
Rereads problem, then says 20 buses are needed.
Restarts tries skip counting this time. 60+60=120, 120+120=240. 4 buses!
Circle Time
During circle time conversations, Indigo realizes an error in problem #4 (computing for two
weeks instead of three).

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B. Mathematics Interview
1. Anecdotal Notes from Interviews
Indigo
Problem #1
She reads the problem aloud. I ask her what type of math problem it is. She rereads and
says that it is a subtraction problem.
Uses the standard algorithm to solve and produces the correct answer.
I ask her why she crossed out the digits of 121 and wrote numbers above. You cant take
a 6 away from a 1 so you borrow from the 2. And you cant take a 8 away from a 2 so
you borrow from the 1. So then I can do 11-6 and 11-8. I ask her to tell me what she
took from the 2. I borrowed a 1.
When I asked her questions about the standard algorithm like what the ones on top mean,
she gave me very nice textbook description of the standard algorithm about borrowing
from the digit to the left.
I asked why she solved the problem that way. She says it is the way her third grade
teacher showed her to do it.
Writes down answer clearly and labels it well 35 fireflies.
Problem #2
Uses standard algorithm again to get correct answer.
Counts up by ones to solve 13-9.
Task #1
Sets up problem correctly with 2 longs and 3 blocks.
She sets one of these longs aside and counts out 10 blocks to replace it. I might have to
change these. I ask why. I cant take away 9. Its a 10 block. I cant pull 1 off.
Gets a bit confused using the blocks, miscounts a few times.
Kaya
Problem #1
Reads the problem and then recognizes that it is a subtraction problem.
Uses the standard algorithm incorrectly and says the answer is 165.
I suggest that she tries something different, adding familiar numbers to 86 until she
reaches 121 (counting up strategy).
86+4 is 90. 90+10 is she does mental math but does not write anything down.
She loses track of her numbers and I suggest she write her work down as she thinks it.
Writes down numbers as she adds in an inequality string. 86+10=96+4=100+21=121.
Looks at me expectantly.
I ask her what the answer is, she does not reply. Then I ask her what did you add to 86
to get to 121? She replies 10. I ask her if she added anything else. She circles each
number that she added 10, 4 and 21.
Adds 14 and 21 using the standard algorithm and gets the correct answer.
Problem #2
Recognizes the problem is subtraction and tries to do mental math and says the answer is
24.
She looks back at the problem and realizes that is incorrect. Does mental math again and
reaches the correct solution.
Task #1

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Sets up problem correctly with 2 longs and 3 blocks. Takes the 3 blocks away. Then does
mental math and states the answer is 11.
I ask her to restart the problem and show me again, being sure to say out loud everything
she is thinking. She takes away 3 of the blocks and says now there are 6 more left to
take away.
She looks to me for help and is unsure what to do next. I ask her how can she take 6 away
from 1 long and she says she cant. I ask her how much does 1 long represent and she
counts each segment and then replies 10. I ask her how much 1 block represents and
she replies 1. I ask her if she thinks we can exchange 1 long for an equal number of
blocks.
Kaya exchanges 1 long for 10 blocks and finishes the problem, reaching the correct
answer of 14.
I ask her if she can try to solve the second problem the same way as the first problem
(using the counting up strategy).
She tries to do it in her head, saying 9 plus 10 is 19. Plus 10 is 20. Plus 1 is 21.

Briana
Problem #1
Reads the first problem and recognizes that it is a subtraction problem; that she needs to
take away.
Uses the standard algorithm and quickly calculates the answer to 121-12.
She is very confident with her work, energetic and positive.
I ask her what the number 86 is for in the problem. She says oh and then rereads the
problem.
She debates what to do and then draws 12 circles for jars to put the 86 fireflies in. It
seems she forgot this was a subtraction problem and switched over to the array model for
multiplication which the class is presently studying.
We could count up to 86 to find out the answer. She puts equal amounts of bugs into
each jar until she reaches 86, then pauses for a moment. Then whats the answer? she
asks.
I ask her to look back at the original and then she recognizes, remembers, that it is a
subtraction problem. Using the standard algorithm, she solves 121-86.
She counts up by ones for 11-6 and 11-8.
Problem #2
After reading the problem, she paraphrases it, shortening it but keeping the key
information. She determines it is subtraction.
Using the standard algorithm, she solves the problem and reaches the correct solution.
I ask her why she crossed out the 2 and 3 and wrote numbers above. She responds that
you cant take 9 from 3 so I have to borrow 1 from the 2.
Task #1
She sets it up correctly with 2 longs and 3 blocks.
In this case you might need to take one of these and trade it for one of these. Trades 1
long for 1 block and has the correct number remaining, 1 long and 4 blocks.
I ask her to start over and explain the subtraction to me. She says Oh, like we dont
know the answer. Okay.

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She starts over and explains the process of exchanging 1 long for 10 blocks very well.
We need to break this apart but we cant. (talking about a long) So we trade it for 10 of
these. Now we can take 9 away.
Briana offers to explain the first problem with blocks as well. We begin and she shows
me how 86 is present on a flat by covering up part of it. But we cant break it apart
either so we have to trade it.

2. Scanned Copies of Students Work


Indigo

Kaya

Briana

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3. Reflection
Having one-on-one time with each child to interview and assess their mathematical
abilities revealed key characteristics and individual behaviors. One commonality present among
all three students was their default usage of the standard algorithm for subtraction. Apart from
this similarity, Indigo, Kaya and Briana used various thoughts and processes to solve the
subtraction problems given, showing individual strengths and weaknesses of mathematical
competence and understanding.
Indigo is a careful reader and effective problem solver. She enjoys the process and is
confident in her abilities. She knows how to use the subtraction standard algorithm well as
evidenced by her quickly reached solutions to my word problems. I believe she has a basic
understanding of place value, but has yet to make all of the connections which would allow her
to communicate this understanding. The manipulatives help Indigo to grasp place value in a
tangible way, yet she has not yet carried this knowledge over into the more abstract standard
algorithm. When I asked her details about the subtraction problem she set up in standard
algorithm, she repeatedly said one for what was really a ten. Yet when working with base-10
blocks, she understands that a long must be exchanged for exactly ten blocks.
Future mathematics instruction with Indigo can move her towards improving place value
understanding and counting strategies. Her solid knowledge about the standard algorithm process
can be utilized to teach about place value, supporting research that students should learn this
topic within operational context (Carpenter, Fennema, Franke, Levi & Empson, 1999). She still
reverts at times to counting by ones when solving problems. During the assessment, she counted
on her fingers to find the difference between 13 and 9. In the future, it will be beneficial to point
out this behavior when she does it and ask if there is a quicker way she can reach the answer. I

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think teaching her the counting up subtraction strategy and exploring together its usefulness for
mental math will improve her computation skills.
Kaya is a soft-spoken girl who seems hesitant to dive into problem solving and is unsure
of her abilities. She does not seem to understand the rules of subtractions standard algorithm
correctly computing in single columns, from right to left, but mistakenly subtracting the top
digits from the bottom. I think she does not have solid place value understanding due to small
observations during the two math problems and math task. While mentally adding single digit
numbers, she confused one with ten a few times. Using base-10 blocks, she was unable to recall
that one long is equal to ten blocks without my prying. Kaya is not in the habit of writing down
her work, preferring to compute mentally (oftentimes with errors) and only recording it after my
requests.
Although her mathematics strategies and understanding are incomplete, Kaya exhibits
potential which can flourish with careful instruction. Emphasizing the habit of writing down
computation and showing work will benefit her. This will solve many basic computation errors
and also give further insight into her thoughts and strategies. Kayas sweet spirit makes her
teachable and open to learning new things. After incorrectly using the standard algorithm for
subtraction, I suggested and guided her through the counting up strategy. Scaffolding her into
learning with little bursts of encouragement and questions, she was able to successfully solve the
problem. Receiving encouragement and gentle guidance, I believe Kaya can progress greatly in
mathematics knowledge and methods.
Briana is a confident mathematician whose friendly nature sometimes hinders her focus
and attention to detail. Working on the first question, she attempted the problem three different
ways, the first two done because of misreading the information within the question. First she

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used the standard algorithm to subtract a wrong number (pulled from unrelated information
given in the problem), then she drew an equal groups picture with wrong numbers, and finally
she used the standard algorithm to subtract. She demonstrated acuity, learning from her mistake
in the first problem to change her approach to the second problem. After reading it through, she
summarized it, recognized the operation called for and easily produced the correct answer using
the standard algorithm. Contrasting her behavior during the first and second problems shows that
with focus, Briana is an effective problem solver. I think she has a basic understanding of how
place value works although she has not yet connected it to the standard algorithm. When I asked
about her use of the standard algorithm to solve 23-9, she referred to the tens as ones and to
borrowing, the typical jargon taught alongside the standard algorithm. However with the Base10 blocks, she explained the process of trading a long for ten blocks very well, beyond the
simple context of the problem at hand (23-9).
Brianas enthusiasm is contagious and I believe this can be utilized to improve her
mathematical abilities. Furthering her exposure to word problems without explicit instructions
(like divide or find the difference) will train her to become a more careful and attentive
reader and problem solver. Getting into the habit of reading, then paraphrasing (as she
demonstrated with the second problem) to discover what operation is being demanded will
provide her with a stable start to each problem. She is still in the habit of counting by ones
occasionally which could be helped by exposure to the counting up method for subtraction.
Similar to suggestions for Indigo, I believe this strategy will help Briana to make her
computation processes quicker and more efficient.
All three students responded well to scaffolding, supporting Vygotskys idea of the zone
of proximal development. When I asked leading questions, encouraging them and trying to make

KIDWATCHING PART II

18

them comfortable, they were willing to try new methods and problems, and explain their thinking.
Past positive experiences from school or home have allowed them to feel at ease to take risks and
attempt the unknown.
Evidence from these assessments as well as from my fieldwork reveal that many
educators continue to teach students the way they were taught standard algorithms without
emphasizing deeper understanding. Kayas confusion regarding the standard algorithm process
correlates to what I have seen in my internships fifth grade classroom. One student stacked 10
2-digit numbers on top of each other, preparing to use the standard algorithm of addition. He
called me over for help, and then asked from which side was he supposed to start adding. The
fact that the standard algorithm was the default method for Indigo, Kaya and Briana coming into
fourth grade supports this idea, since Common Core Standards do not specify use of the standard
algorithm until the fourth grade (4.NBT.4). Rather than teaching a solid foundation of place
value, as the standards dictate for second and third grades, many math educators continue to
teach methods ignoring the mechanics within (2.NBT.1, 5, 7, 9 and 3.NBT.1).
I am quite satisfied with the interview protocol I created. I intentionally made subtraction
problems with numbers which require regrouping. I avoided using key words for operations and
included extraneous information intone problem to assess careful reading. Despite this solid set
of questions, the interview process revealed several aspects for which I was unprepared. In
hindsight, I wish I had anticipated students actions more and prepared appropriate questions and
responses for these areas.
Originally, I anticipated witnessing my students use multiple subtraction strategies. The
standard algorithm was the only method chosen by the three students. In retrospect, I wish I
would have asked each student why she used her chosen strategy. I asked Indigo this, but did not

KIDWATCHING PART II

19

probe beyond her response that it is what her third grade teacher taught her. I also could have
asked each student to think of other ways to solve the problem. They could have demonstrated
any such ways, perhaps revealing knowledge of other subtraction strategies.
To probe place value understanding, I relied heavily upon the base ten block task.
Looking back, I should have utilized the standard algorithm of subtraction more as a starting
point to examine place value understanding. All three students used the standard algorithm for
subtraction and Kaya used the standard algorithm for addition as well. If I could redo these
interviews, I would question each of them more about the standard algorithm. I attempted to do
this a bit with Indigo, but felt unsure how far I could question beyond her explanations of
carrying and borrowing.
Interviewing and assessing children individually provides teachers with invaluable
insight and information into the thoughts and processes of their students. Practicing such
analyses has proven to be an important exercise which will contribute to my understanding and
actions as a future educator.

KIDWATCHING PART II
C. Work Samples
August 27, 2014 Windows and Towers Task

20

KIDWATCHING PART II
September 3, 2014 Arrays and Factors

September 3, 2014 Operational and Relational Views of the Equals Sign

21

KIDWATCHING PART II
September 10, 2014 Mathematics Interview

September 17, 2014 Multi-digit Multiplication

22

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September 24, 2014 Van Hiele Levels

September 24, 2014 Area & Perimeter

23

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24

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October 1, 2014 Estimation

25

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26

II. Report
A. Data Analysis and Results
Place value understanding is an area I had the privilege of witnessing Indigos knowledge
expand. Watching Indigo solve my mathematics interview about subtraction place value on
September 10 showed me that she possesses an incomplete understanding about place value. She
was able to solve the subtraction problems with ease, using the standard algorithm to regroup
many times. However, when I questioned Indigo about her standard algorithm usage, she was
unable to explain her methods beyond learned phrases like carrying the one. With base-10
blocks she was able to demonstrate and explain to me the subtraction problem and the idea of
regrouping. Her ability to explain place value using the tangible shows me that Indigo had a
rudimentary understanding but has yet to apply it abstractly to her use of standard algorithms. A
week later on September 17, Indigo used the standard to calculate how many muffins an 18x6
pan would hold. Dr. Stewart joined us and used questions to lead Indigo towards recognizing
place value within the subtraction standard algorithm. After an enlightened Ooooh, Indigo was
able to explain her newfound knowledge to her peers during a whole-class reflection.
Questioning served a major role in uncovering and later increasing Indigos knowledge about
place value understanding.
During my time with Indigo, I observed patterns of problem solving strategies which
show that Indigo has a repertoire of methods she employs to solve different types of
mathematical problems. Her strategies show her capabilities and reveal gaps which can be
focused onto strengthen her problem solving skills.
Indigos strategies to solve multiplication problems began to evolve during our time
together. In our first encounters, she used complete number strategies to break up multiplication

KIDWATCHING PART II

27

problems into more simple addition problems. On August 27, Indigo used repeated addition, skip
counting on her fingers, to count the number of windows on multi-floor Unifix cube towers. This
strategy was more comfortable and familiar to her at the time, but as her exposure to
multiplication tasks increased, her strategies transitioned. She demonstrated prior knowledge of
some basic multiplication facts on September 3, recalling the products of 5x5 and 2x25 from her
memory. To discover factors of 25 using tiles, Indigo first divided the 25 pieces into equal
groups, a time-consuming representation of repeated addition. But later she recognized that
creating an array was easier. Her realization symbolizes a shift in Indigos thinking towards
using more efficient multiplication strategies. For mental math and some word problems, she still
defaults to repeated addition and skip counting on her fingers which can lead to simple errors
like on September 17 when she skip counted to solve 9x30, mistakenly finding an answer of 240.
Indigos multiplication strategies are still in flux, and the strategies she uses depend on the
situation at hand.
To solve subtraction problems, Indigo uses the standard algorithm and the counting up
strategy. Indigo has a firm grasp of the standard algorithm for subtraction and used it many times
to compute answers quickly. At first she did not exhibit understanding of place value within the
algorithm, but this knowledge improved during our time together as mentioned above. During
my mathematics interview on September 10, Indigo counted up to mentally solve 13-9. This
same interview revealed that some of Indigos peers still have difficulties using the subtraction
standard algorithm, especially when regrouping is required.
To find approximate answers, Indigo often uses front-end estimation, however, she still
makes frequent errors when doing such mental computations. On October 1, she added the digits
with the greatest value and then inserted zeros behind her answer (sometimes the incorrect

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28

number of zeros). At times she adjusted her final answer after recognizing that her guess was an
over or underestimate. She found it hard to use only mental math for estimations and made
addition and multiplication computation errors in her attempts.
Perhaps Indigos greatest asset of problem solving is her natural desire. Throughout our
time together, she was always motivated to try completing tasks on her own. She did not
habitually look to me for help, but was content to struggle through tasks on her own. Having
confidence in her abilities and the motivation to attempt mathematics problems by herself is an
invaluable skill.
Indigos mathematic comprehension and use of representations show that she is
progressing towards mathematical understanding. Her ability to recognize and toggle between
written, visual and tangible representations, and her knowledge of operations and geometrical
shapes prove her growth thus far and reveal areas which need improvement.
Word problems often place mathematical tasks in the context of real world situations,
requiring deeper thought than the average equation. During Janets mathematics interviews on
September 10, Indigo was the only student of three interviewed who successfully identified the
multiplication (area/array) task contained within the word problem. On the same day during my
interview, Indigo was not thrown off by the excess information given within a word problem or
by the lack of key words present like how many are left. September 24 she read a word
problem and then immediately labeled what the question was asking her to discover its like
area and perimeter. These instances show that Indigo has established a habit of reading and
rereading each word problem carefully, then summarizing it including important numbers and
naming the mathematical task required. Indigo has the ability to decode word problems, stripping
away excess information and revealing the math equation beneath.

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29

Besides written words, Indigo recognizes and utilizes the advantages of visual and
physical representations of mathematics to help her solve the problem at hand. During our first
task together on August 27, she used physical manipulatives (Unifix cubes) and a chart to
calculate and record her solutions. She effortlessly read and inserted data within this table, even
adding a new column to the table after the class-wide adjustment was made. On September 3 and
24 Indigo used manipulatives (tiles) and grid paper cohesively to solve problems related to area
and perimeter, understanding that both media represented the same idea. These experiences with
Indigo show that she is developing an understanding of math beyond simple equations on
worksheets, towards its relevance to real world problems involving situations and tangible
objects.
Indigo has demonstrated an understanding of addition, subtraction and multiplication
operations. She recognizes the relationship between addition and multiplication, using repeated
addition and multiplication interchangeably during tasks on September 3 and 10. Throughout our
time together, she comfortably used standard algorithms to perform these three operations. She
noticed addition and multiplication patterns on August 27 and correctly identified word problems
as subtraction and multiplication on September 10.
An assessment on September 3 revealed that Indigo possesses an incomplete
understanding of the equal sign. She demonstrated an operational view, seeing the equal sign as
an indicator that a task needs to be performed such as addition or multiplication. When
performing multiple operations, she would often write her computations using inequality strings,
like on August 27 when she calculated 6x10=60+2=62. She does not understand that the equal
sign describes the equal value of the symbols on each of its sides.

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30

Indigos geometric reasoning is still developing and is on track with others her age. On
September 24, Indigo demonstrated Level 1 understanding on a Van Hiele assessment. She was
able to recall the shapes of some quadrilaterals and triangle types but was confused about the
names and characteristics of many shapes. Her descriptions of the geometrical figures were
related to the length and position of sides and the size of angles. Noticing and classifying shapes
by their traits such as sides and angles are indicative of Van Hiele Level 1 thinking.

B. Recommendations
Budding knowledge about computation strategies for multiplication and estimation
should be reviewed to secure Indigos understanding. Mrs. Tolar provided multiple tasks to
scaffold Indigo into replacing complete number strategies like repeated addition with more
efficient multiplication strategies. At times Indigo still reverts to adding numbers many times and
this behavior should be discouraged as it is noticed and replaced with multiplication. She
exhibited understanding that multiplication was a kind of short cut, and now just needs support
from her teacher and parents to make multiplication the default problem solving strategy for such
scenarios. Estimation is an immensely useful skill and additional instruction and practice in this
area will benefit Indigo. Class-wide think-alouds can model what estimating using mental math
sounds like. Parents can model and challenge Indigo with estimation when shopping at the
grocery store or looking through newspaper ads. Finding the approximate cost of a few items like
milk, flour and eggs can offer times of practice and real-world instances of when to use
estimation. Bolstering multiplication as a go-to strategy and mastering the multi-step mental
math of estimation are complex concepts for Indigo, but I am confident that she will become
proficient in these areas with repeated experiences in the classroom and at home.

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31

As a solid and eager problem solver, place value and equal sign understanding are
mathematical concepts which can be reexamined to advance Indigos thinking in ways beneficial
for future studies. Great progress was witnessed in place value understanding during our time
together, including a revelatory moment brought upon by Dr. Stewart strategic questioning on
September 17. Perhaps the most pervasive way to support this new knowledge is to be conscious
that mathematical language used reflects place value concepts. Instead of borrowing from a
number to the left in subtraction, use language like breaking up a ten into ten ones or
exchanging a hundred for ten tens. Such language reinforces the fact that the location of each
digit corresponds to particular place values. Parents should mirror this mathematical vocabulary
at home too, ensuring that language reflects place value understanding. Thorough knowledge of
place value, as present in manipulatives and on paper with standard algorithms, will set Indigo
up for success with decimals and fractions. Altering Indigos perspective about the equal sign is
a crucial recommendation to help her in the future as she broaches algebraic thinking.
Scaffolding her into a relational view of the equal sign should first include tangible
representations like a balancing scale, with the pivot point acting like an equal sign. After such
hands-on learning, the equal sign may be reintroduced through class activities which underscore
the understanding that it means both sides are equal. Worksheets which vary the placement of the
equal sign will reinforce this concept as well. Revising and solidifying Indigos knowledge of
place value and the equal sign will make her a more sophisticated mathematician to tackle
problems in and out of school.

KIDWATCHING PART II

32

Lesson Plan Four Column Format


Title: Equals Sign Understanding Part 1
Content Area: Math
Teacher Name: Betty Moak
Grade Level: 4
OVERARCHING GOALS FOR THE LESSON
LESSON OBJECTIVES AND STANDARDS
To advance students understanding of the equal sign from an operational view into a
1.OA
relational view.
Work with addition and subtraction equations.
7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and
To introduce the concept of making different sides balanced and even.
determine if equations involving addition and
subtraction are true or false. For example, which
of the following equations are true and which are
false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
8. Determine the unknown whole number in an
addition or subtraction
equation relating three whole numbers. For
example, determine the
unknown number that makes the equation true
in each of the equations 8 +? = 11, 5 = 3, 6 + 6
= .
IMPORTANT CONTENT CONNECTION: Describe the important concepts related to this lesson that students have as prior or future concepts to learn.
A relational view of the equals sign will help students to grasp algebraic thinking in the future. Although this is technically a first grade
standard, an assessment performed revealed that many students possess an incomplete operational perspective of the equals sign. This is a
foundational mathematics concept which needs to be corrected.
IMPORTANT THEORETICAL CONNECTIONS & FOUNDATIONS: Describe the important theoretical underpinnings of the lesson, both general and
content-specific theories of learning and development.

Children must understand that equality is a relationship expressing the idea that two mathematical expressions hold the same value. A lack of
such an understanding is one of the major stumbling blocks for students when they move from arithmetic towards algebra (Oksuz, 2007, p.
3).
MATERIALS. List the texts, equipment, and other materials to be used by the students. List the materials, including equipment or technology used by the
teacher in presenting the experiences.

balance scale, worksheets with balance scale images, Unifix cubes, smart board presentation
Components of the lesson. learning activities and key questions
Anticipated Student
Teaching notes
(and time allocation)
Responses and solution DIFFERENTIATION: list

LINK PRIOR KNOWLEDGE. Outline procedures for activating prior


knowledge and student interest.

Since the purpose of this lesson is to overturn and rewrite prior


knowledge (operational view of the equal sign), I will not

strategies. (Potential
Barriers &
Misconceptions)

adaptations for ELL, EC,


LD

Because of an
assessment earlier this
year about equals sign
understanding, I am

Click here to enter text.

Evidence of learning.
Evaluation points or
assessment questions.

Click here to enter text.

KIDWATCHING PART II
explicitly state the topic of this lesson. Students and teacher will
gather in a circle on the floor. In the center of the circle I will
place a balance scale. I will ask students if they know what it is
called and what it does. I will let students share their thoughts
and experiences with such devices. I will focus our thoughts by
sharing that Today we will be finding different ways to make
the two sides of the scale the same.
(5 minutes)

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES. Outline what the teacher(s) and


students will do to Engage & Educate. Active learning tasks. If
required, include the script of your lesson here.

Class is still sitting in a circle facing the center where the


balance scale is. I will explain that the two flat surfaces on the
scale are called pans. In order for the two sides of the scale to
be the same, for the scale to be balanced, both pans must hold
the same amount. I will place three Unifix cubes on one of the
pans and we will watch the scale tip and become unbalanced.
Then I will ask a student to place Unifix cubes on the other pan
until the scale is balanced again. Three cubes on each pan make
the scale balanced. I will clear the scale and we will repeat the
exercise a few times drawing in different students to
participate.
I will display a simple image of a balance scale on the smart
board. From now on, as we add cubes to the scales pans, lets
write the number of cubes on the board too. So now, with an
empty scale, what number should I put for the right pan and the
left pan? I will write zero above both pans of the scale image.
We will repeat the exercise earlier, this time copying the
number of cubes onto the smart board, erasing the numbers in
between trials. Then we will start by one student writing a
number on a board, then another student placing the
corresponding number of cubes on the scale.
Next I will set up the scale making it unequal, 5 cubes on one

33
assuming that most
students possess an
operational view of the
equals sign. Because of
this, I am seeking to
restart their
perspective of this sign,
and therefore will
avoid direct links to the
equals sign and the
word equals in this
lesson to establish the
concept before naming
it.
Because of an
assessment earlier this
year about equals sign
understanding, I am
assuming that most
students possess an
operational view of the
equals sign. Because of
this, I am seeking to
restart their
perspective of this sign,
and therefore will
avoid direct links to the
equals sign and the
word equals in this
lesson to establish the
concept before naming
it.

I will seek to
strategically seat
students with
behavioral and
attention issues around
the circle close to me
but not in direct eye
contact with one
another. I will ask them
to participate in the
activity, particularly
during the first circle
time, to heighten their
attention and interest.

During circle times, eye


contact and
participation will be
formatively assessed.
Collecting the
worksheets and
reviewing them
afterwards will tell me
which students are
grasping the concept of
making the scales
balanced.

KIDWATCHING PART II

34

side and 3 on another. I will write this on the smart board as


well. Does that work? Students will correct the imbalance and
say that the second pan needs two more cubes. On the smart
board I will add a +2 next to the 3, then ask if the scale is
balanced now. We will repeat this exercise, with one student
making the scale uneven, one student writing the uneven
numbers on the board, and then another student adjusting the
amount and using the plus sign on the board to represent this
change.
Next students will return to their desks to try out their
balancing scale skills with a worksheet. The worksheet features
simple images of balance scales with numbers written on top of
some pans. Students fill in the missing numbers above pans to
make the scales balanced. Some scale pans feature plus and
minus signs followed by a blank, other scales will have both
pans filled in with different (unbalanced) numbers. Throughout
the worksheet, blanks are left sometimes on the left pans and
other time on the right pans. The minus sign is a new situation
for students and I will walk around the class and monitor
strategies used on the worksheet, particularly for the scales
with minus signs.
Students will return to the circle on the floor with their
worksheets. I will let a few students share their answers and
then demonstrate the problem on the balance scale using
cubes. Then we will examine the more tricky problems
together, including scales which started off unbalanced and
ones which featured minus signs.
(45 minutes)
REFLECT and SUMMARIZE. Outline how you will close.
We will reflect upon our activity, that no matter what the scale
looked like in the beginning how many cubes were on one or
both pans we had a goal in mind: to make the scale balanced
and even. In our next lesson we will continue working to
balance scales and learn about other math situations where our
goal is to make things balanced and even.
(3 minutes)
EXTENSIONS/CONNECTIONS. What other lessons does this lesson

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

KIDWATCHING PART II

35

connect to?

The next lesson will seek to solidify the connection between the
even/balanced sides of a scale and equal values on either side
of an equal sign.
REFLECTION: After the lesson, reflect on what went well and what didnt go well. Write changes you might implement the next time the lesson is taught.
Click here to enter text.

KIDWATCHING PART II

36

Lesson Plan Four Column Format


Title: Equals Sign Understanding Part 2
Content Area: Math
Teacher Name: Betty Moak
Grade Level: 4
OVERARCHING GOALS FOR THE LESSON
LESSON OBJECTIVES AND STANDARDS
To advance students understanding of the equal sign from an operational view into a
1.OA
relational view.
Work with addition and subtraction equations.
7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and
To make students begin practicing using the equal sign to represent that the values on
determine if equations involving addition and
both sides are the same, balanced and even.
subtraction are true or false. For example, which
of the following equations are true and which are
false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
8. Determine the unknown whole number in an
addition or subtraction
equation relating three whole numbers. For
example, determine the
unknown number that makes the equation true in
each of the equations 8 +? = 11, 5 = 3, 6 + 6 =
.
IMPORTANT CONTENT CONNECTION: Describe the important concepts related to this lesson that students have as prior or future concepts to learn.
A relational view of the equals sign will help students to grasp algebraic thinking in the future. Although this is technically a first grade
standard, an assessment performed revealed that many students possess an incomplete operational perspective of the equals sign. This is a
foundational mathematics concept which needs to be corrected.
IMPORTANT THEORETICAL CONNECTIONS & FOUNDATIONS: Describe the important theoretical underpinnings of the lesson, both general and
content-specific theories of learning and development.

Children must understand that equality is a relationship expressing the idea that two mathematical expressions hold the same value. A lack of
such an understanding is one of the major stumbling blocks for students when they move from arithmetic towards algebra (Oksuz, 2007, p.
3).
MATERIALS. List the texts, equipment, and other materials to be used by the students. List the materials, including equipment or technology used by the
teacher in presenting the experiences.

Balance scale, worksheets with balance scale images and incomplete equality statements, Unifix cube, smart board presentation
Components of the lesson. learning activities and key questions
Anticipated Student
Teaching notes
Evidence of learning.
(and time allocation)
DIFFERENTIATION:
list
Evaluation points or
Responses and solution

LINK PRIOR KNOWLEDGE. Outline procedures for activating prior


knowledge and student interest.

We will start in a circle on the floor facing a balance scale in


the center, the same as yesterday. The simple scale image will

strategies. (Potential
Barriers &
Misconceptions)

adaptations for ELL, EC, LD

assessment questions.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

KIDWATCHING PART II
be displayed again on the smart board.
I will tell a student to place a low number (less than 10) of
Unifix cubes on the both of the pans to make the scale
balanced and even. I will write the number on the board. Then
drawing students attention to the board, I will write an equal
sign between the numbers (ex. 5=5). I will ask them what they
think about this new guest to our activity. I will give a clear
definition of the equal sign it means that both sides have the
same value, both of our pans have the same number of blocks
so they are equal to one another. Covering up the image of the
scale, I will show students that both sides of the equal sign are
the same and balanced.
I will explain that in todays lesson, we will learn how the equal
sign is like our scale activity yesterday when we see it, we
need to make sure that both of its sides are the same,
balanced and even.
(5 minutes)
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES. Outline what the teacher(s) and
students will do to Engage & Educate. Active learning tasks. If
required, include the script of your lesson here.

Reminding students that the equals sign separates two


separate sides, like the two pans of our scale, I will erase the
smart board and write 7= above the scale image. Then I will
ask a student to place the same amount of cubes on our scale.
Together we will talk about what goes in the blank, what will
make our scale balanced? What will make both sides of the
equal sign balanced?
I will pass out worksheets which feature the same simple scale
images as yesterday.
As we manipulate the scale and write on the smart board,
students will copy down the numbers on their worksheets,
writing down the equal sign to begin practicing writing equality
statements.
Once students seem to grasp this simple equality, we will do a
trial starting with an uneven scale. I will write the
corresponding incomplete equation on the board, such as
4+=9. Students will continue writing the mathematical
statements on their worksheets as we figure them out
together.

37

Placing operational
signs on the right side
of an equal sign will
most likely look strange
to some students. I will
spend extra time
examining such an
equation and
simplifying it until
students understand it.
We will return to the
balance scale as a
physical model to clear
up such
misunderstandings.

I will seek to
strategically seat
students with
behavioral and
attention issues around
the circle close to me
but not in direct eye
contact with one
another. I will ask them
to participate in the
activity, particularly
during the first circle
time, to heighten their
attention and interest.

During circle times, eye


contact and
participation will be
formatively assessed.
Collecting the
worksheets and
reviewing them
afterwards will tell me
which students are
grasping the concept of
making both sides of
the equal sign
even/same/balanced
just like both pans of
the scale.

KIDWATCHING PART II

38

I will tell students to label one pan of the next scale on their
worksheet 11, write an equal sign over the middle of the
scale and then to write something using a plus sign that will
balance the scale and the equal sign on the other side. We will
share out possible solutions together using the scale and smart
board.
I will cover up the scale image on the smart board and we will
examine the equation by itself (ex. 11=3+8). I will ask students
if it looks all right or odd, and then ask does it matter what is
on each side? Examining a few different students solutions
side-by-side (ex. 5+6=11, 11=4+7), we can see it does not
matter where the plus or minus sign is, as long as both sides of
the equal sign are balanced like our scale.
Students will return to their seats to complete a worksheet.
The first problems feature images of the scale beneath the
empty math equations (ex +=-). A box next to each
problem gives numbers which must be put in the correct
places to make both sides balanced/equal (ex. 4, 5, 10, 1).
The back side of the worksheet features problems that do not
have scale images. Some problems are similar fill in the blank
like the front page. Empty boxes are on the left and right sides
of the equal signs, and both plus and minus signs are used.
We will come back together and share out about the
worksheet, writing only numbers and equations on the smart
board. The physical scale will only be used if it is clear to me
that students are still not grasping the concept.
(45 minutes)
REFLECT and SUMMARIZE. Outline how you will close.
I will ask students to tell me, in light of our balance scale
activities, what the equal sign means. I will conclude once a
student has shared an adequate explanation of the relational
view. I will reinforce this perspective and further define it as
necessary, drawing parallels to our scale activity.
(5 minutes)
EXTENSIONS/CONNECTIONS. What other lessons does this lesson
connect to?

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

Click here to enter text.

My closing question
serves as both a
conclusion and an
assessment to
ascertain if students
have understood the
relational view of the
equal sign.
Click here to enter text.

KIDWATCHING PART II

39

I can reinforce this fresh and basic understanding of the


relational view of the equal sign through future math lessons
on various topics. By diversifying the placement of equal sign, I
can accustom students to viewing and using the equal sign in a
relational way. This will lay the foundation for future learning
and algebraic thinking.
REFLECTION: After the lesson, reflect on what went well and what didnt go well. Write changes you might implement the next time the lesson is taught.
Click here to enter text.