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Sami Seeman EDUC 126 Inquiry into Student Thinking


Jack began the study feeling more confident/comfortable counting by ones to reach an

answer. To help keep track of all the ones, Jack would draw objects or tallies of the required amount. Although capable of writing the vertical number sentence, he never solved it using the algorithm. As time went on, Jack made some great progress. During the last session, Jack used larger shapes to represent groups of ten ones or one ten with the number 10 above each shape. Even though Jack understood that 10 can be a unit, he was not comfortable or confident in solving problems without some form of illustration. 1b. Below is an example of some of Jacks earlier work. Taken from the second day of the

case study, this work is superb evidence for how dependent Jack was on counting by ones to reach an answer. He had the vertical number sentence (incorrect) then drew circles to help him keep track as he counted up by ones. For instance, Jack wrote a vertical number sentence for 40-15, but actually solved the problem by modeling it with individual chips:

Below is an example of Jacks work on the last day of the case study. When compared to the work above, this example shows that Jack is capable of grouping ten ones together as a cohesive unit without drawing each individual one. I asked Jack if he could solve the second problem (30 pencils, 29 more pencils) in his head; he thought for a moment, said no, and proceeded to draw this:


On the fifth day of the case study, the group read a book titled Only One that was about

how multiples of one object can be a unit. Although the students had some trouble with the problems for the rest of the day, they all seemed to grasp the concept and were able to use the experience as a reference point later. One problem that seemed particularly productive was problem number 3 on Day 6. This problem was about cookies in packages and some extra cookies. Even though Jack had started by drawing each cookie in the packages, he eventually remembered that he could just write the number and used that strategy with an impromptu problem. Sunny began by drawing then switched to unifix cubes. However, she didnt count the cubes by ones to reach her answer; Sunny counted by 10s. 3. Next time, Ive decided to write problems with numbers that are more conducive to using

tens in the strategy. For example, if the problem is something like 20 pennies and how many more pennies to have 45, it will be easier to build up from 20 pennies to 45 using unifix cubes in sticks of ten. (Of course! I now say to myself.) This teacher reflection was particularly interesting to me because of the part in parentheses. However, the whole utterance was insightful as both an example of decision-making and reflection. As the saying goes, Hindsight is 20/20 (or something

like it) and this professor was no exception. She knew she should have used other numbers to aid the children in their problem-solving and used this hindsight to influence her numbers for the next day. Teachers always hope to get it right the first time but sometimes we skip or forget some baby steps that the students need in order to have a deeper understanding. We just have to remember that it is ok to go back or work a little slower depending on the students needs. 4. Next Problem: Danielle has 62 beads. She wants to make necklaces with 10 beads on

each. How many necklaces can Danielle make? I believe that this problem would be good for the group because it is similar to one of the problems from the last day of the study and would provide more insight into how fragile their thinking of 10 as a unit might be. The number is also capable of being used with unifix cubes but would get tedious when drawing ones as opposed to a ten chunk.