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Reflection 3

Justin Laurens

University of Georgia

EMAT 3900

Ms. Hyejin Park

September 28, 2016

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 2

Summary of Questions

1. Does that make sense? Does everybody understand the rules?

• This was a closed question, and the purpose was to ensure understanding of the

instructions.

2. Any Questions? Any Ideas?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students as well as

create a community of open discussion and questioning in the classroom.

3. What is the probability of picking the red counter?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to gain a specific answer,

reiterating the instructions.

4. What’s the probability of picking a green counter? Why is that Ellie?

• This was a closed, and then an open question whose purpose was to first gain a

specific answer, and then request students to explain reasoning.

5. Explain to me what you’re doing mathematically? Are you dividing? Multiplying?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to have the student further explore

mathematics I order to help explain reasoning.

6. Did anybody else do it differently?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in mathematical

reasoning by requesting multiple methods.

7. Anybody have any ideas of how to figure out Blue, Yellow, and White?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific response from

students.

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 3

8. Say a little more about that?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to request students to explain their

reasoning.

9. Does everybody see where Hazel was slightly confused?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in recognizing

misconceptions as well as open classroom community and discussion.

10. What were the probabilities of Blue, Yellow, and White?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific answer.

11. Can you come up with the number of counters of each color in the bag?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to explore mathematics and engage

students in discovering solution methods.

12. There 12 total counters in the bag? Explain?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to request students to explain their

reasoning.

13. So then you have how many of each counter?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific answer.

14. Anybody else have a different answer?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to create a community in which

students can recognize different mathematical methods.

15. So everyone found the least common denominator of twelve?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to assess student’s attention and

engagement.

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 4

16. Can anyone else give me any other possible values for number of counters in the bag now

that we’ve talked about least common denominator?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in discussion

about exploring mathematics from different thought processes.

17. 24? Why?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to explore mathematics in order to

explain reasoning.

18. Anybody want to challenge that?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in

argumentation.

19. Does anybody have any questions about this?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to assess student’s attention and

engagement.

20. Somebody explain to me why Gina is going to lose money in this game?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in the task of

exploring mathematics.

21. It would be great if you bring that up when we talk, Ansley?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific response and

behavior when prompted during discussion.

22. Somebody give me a conjecture as to why Gina is going to lose money in this game?

Explain?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to request students to explore

**mathematics, demonstrate knowledge, as well as explain reasoning.
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 5

23. Do you think you can explain “expected value” to Clay?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students and create a

community of argumentation and reasoning.

24. Anybody have an idea of how to explain why she’s going to lose money at the game

using mathematical values, as opposed to the definition of expected value?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to assess student’s connections to

mathematical concepts.

25. What pays out? How many of each one is in the bag? If someone draws a blue, how

much does she pay out? Yellow? White?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to scaffold students developing of

mathematical understanding.

26. Those three numbers added together add up to?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific response.

27. How much money does Gina bring in over 12 plays of the game?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific response.

28. What can Gina charge to make sure that she makes money?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to engage students in the task.

29. How did you come to that?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to require students to explain their

reasoning.

30. Do you think she would break even if she charged 17 cents?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to engage students in providing

their solution.

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 6

31. Why about 15, Clay?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to require students to explain their

reasoning.

32. Anybody else have any ideas about what Clay is saying?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage the class in discussion,

and develop argumentation.

33. And 15 cents is going to get you?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to elicit a specific answer.

34. And $1.80 is more than $1.70?

• This was a closed question whose purpose was to assess student’s attention and

engagement as well as elicit a specific answer.

35. Can you determine a way Gina can change the game, and still charge 10 cents and make

money?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage the students in small

group discussion as well as exploring mathematics.

36. So what’s that gonna do?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to require explanation of

reasoning.

37. Can you explain mathematically why not charging that dollar, or what she needs to do

about that dollar to make sure that she makes money?

• This was an open question whose purpose was to engage students in exploring

**mathematics in order to explain their reasoning.
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 7

Analysis

There were many different types of questions posed during the practice teaching, each of

which severed many different purposes. The type of question which elicited the best responses

from students were the open ended questions. According to Small and Lin (2010), “an question

is open when it is framed in such a way that a variety of responses or approaches are possible”

(p. 7). By asking this open ended questions, it engaged students in vocalizing their thought

process, and in some cases participating in arguing their conjectures and solutions. By asking

students to develop the number of counters of each color in the bag, I was effective at engaging

the class in productive group discussion about mathematical concepts, solutions, and methods.

This allowed the opportunity for mistaken responses, which in turn helped build a better student

conceptualization of the mathematics being explored in the task.

I think that the questions which involved the students explaining their reasoning elicited

the best responses because it required students to not only engage in productive discussion, but

also argue the validity of their conjectures. These questions built on student’s responses which

asked for specific answers in order to develop mathematical thinking by requiring reasoning and

sense making. According to the NCTM (2009), having students explain helps build the

“structure that reasoning brings forms a vital support for understanding and continued learning”

(p. 6). This explanation not only build upon students mathematical reasoning, but also helped

them share their exploration of concepts, which in turn can help build others understandings and

alleviate misconceptions.

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 8

Using open ended questions which involved engaging students in exploring mathematics

provided the students with opportunities to interact with each other. By selecting a high-

cognitive demand task, which according to Smith and Stein (2011), requires students to “engage

with conceptual ideas that underlie the procedures to complete the task successfully and develop

understanding,” we can ensure that discussion is productive and successful. By asking open

questions which request reasoning as to why Gina would lose money in the game, helped

facilitate student interaction in the form of discussion of mathematical concepts which can help

solidify their understanding and explanation.

One question which I asked which was not effective was, “Can anyone else give me any

other possible values for number of counters in the bag now that we’ve talked about least

common denominator?” While this question was intended to be an open ended question in

which the students would have to critically think and discuss the probability model, providing

the term “least common denominator” basically provided them with the response I was looking

for. Instead, I think it would have been more effective to ask, “Is it possible to have a different

number of counters in the bag, and if so can you give me an example and explain your

thinking?” This method of questioning more closely aligns with Smith and Stein’s (2011)

probing question type which asks students to “articulate, elaborate, and clarify ideas” (p.63).

This question would have been more effective at generating discussion and argumentation, as

**well as helped develop students understanding with minimal amounts of assistance.
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 9

Learning Environment & Student Engagement

In order to engage students, I had them read aloud the instructions for the task, and

prompted them to ask any questions they had about the wording of the task. Doing this was a

brief attempt to create a positive environment where the students could be open to responding to

my questions and feel comfortable presenting their explanations. According to Middleton &

Jansen (2011), the “key to creating a collaborative classroom is promoting the belief that ideas

can be improved” (p. 164). Thus I was trying to build a positive learning environment and

engage student by asking for explanations as well as requesting students discuss each other’s

conjectures. I also asked students to apply their own reasoning to someone else’s arguments, and

prompted students for further participation while re-voicing their responses in an attempt to use

several of Smith and Stein’s (2011) moves to guide productive discussion and create a positive

environment. I was able to engage students by repeatedly asking probing questions about their

solutions or responses to the task. Using questions like “why” and “how” allows students the

opportunity to “represent of communicate their thinking,” and thus engage them in mathematical

reasoning (Smith and Stein, p. 62). Using these techniques helped me keep students engaged

during the lesson. One instance where I wanted the students to be more involved was when

determining how many of each color of counter was in the bag. While I did have one student ask

if there could be multiple answers, when I asked the class if anyone got a different answer, no

one responded. Instead of asking if anyone got a different answer, maybe I could question

whether this is the only possible answer, and provide adequate wait time to allow the students to

discuss within their small groups. This would change my question from closed to open ended,

**and thus further engage the students in critical thinking.
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 10

Lesson Analysis

This lesson provided the students with multiple opportunities to develop their

mathematical skills and understandings. By having the students use the given rules to develop a

probability model for drawing different colored counters from the bag, they were required to

think conceptually. Developing this conceptual understanding that the probabilities of all

outcomes of one instance of the game should sum to 1, or 100%, allowed students to develop

procedural fluency for creating probability models in the future. In order to engage the student

in mathematical reasoning, I posed the open ended question of how to explain why Gina would

expect to lose money from her game. In doing so, students were required to connect to prior

procedures and concepts in order to construct an understanding of expected value, and thus

mathematically explain their reasoning.

I was very proud of this portion of the lesson, because I was able to indirectly guide the

students towards questions about expected value. One of my most effective approaches was

attempting to have the students explain to each other their understanding of expected value in

order to promote meaning fully mathematics conversation. The NCTM (2014) claims that

“discourse in the mathematics classroom gives students opportunities to share ideas and clarify

understandings, construct convincing arguments regarding why and how things work, develop a

language for expressing mathematical ideas, and learn to see things from other perspectives” (p.

29). Another episode which I was proud of was when I requested the students determine how

many color counters were in the bag, and one student recognized that there could be multiple

solutions to this problem. This made me recognize that my task selection and modification was

**appropriate for pushing the students to reason mathematically. I was proud of giving positive
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 11

feedback to the student who recognized this, and think that given time to develop a productive

classroom environment, maybe I would have been more successful with having him share his

critical thinking.

I would like to improve upon my selection and suggestion that students share their

thoughts and reasoning in situations like this, by sequencing student response in order to provide

opportunity to explore the different solutions to the number of counters in the bag. Later on in

the lesson, I made sure to mention to a student that I’d like them to bring up their conjecture

during class discussion, which would have been a more effective approach to having the student

who recognized the possibility of multiple solution share his discovery. I would also like to

improve upon eliciting student’s responses and using them as evidence to advance further

exploration. Effectively using evidence to promote learning, according to the NCTM (2014),

involves “identifying indicators of what is important to notice in students’ mathematical

thinking, planning for ways to elicit that information, interpreting what the evidence means with

respect to students’ learning, and then deciding how to respond on the basis of students’

understanding” (p. 53).” Thus, when I asked the students to explain the expected value concept

to the other students, I could have used this as a stepping point to have the students use the given

response to explore the mathematical connections in a more productive and effective manner.

Representations

In this lesson, students used tables and symbolic representations in order to successfully

consider the mathematical concepts desired. The NCTM (2014) suggests that “representations

**embody critical features of mathematical constructs and actions, such as drawing diagrams and
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 12

using words to show and explain the meaning of fractions, ratios, or the operation of

multiplication” (p. 24). Thus it is important to not only allow, but in some cases promote or

require students to use multiple representations for reasoning and sense making with tasks. In

this lesson, students used a table to represent the probability model, which helped them develop

their understanding of all probabilities of the counters being drawn summing to one, as well as

develop concepts with the table for creatively and mathematically developing the number of

counters of each color in the bag. One student extended the given table in which she had filled in

the probabilities of each color being drawn in order to make sure that her determination of the

number of each color counter followed the given rules. Given another opportunity I think it

would have been beneficial to incorporate the possible use of more representations as well as

have students discuss and understand each different form. The NCTM (2014) claims that

“students should be able to approach a problem from several points of view and be encouraged to

switch among representations until they are able to understand the situation and proceed along a

path that will lead them to a solution” (p. 26). By incorporating this into the lesson plan,

students would be able to develop a better understanding of the mathematical concepts of

probability and expected value, as well as build off of each other’s knowledge and

**representations to discover that there are many approaches available in mathematical learning.
**

REFLECTION 3 – VIDEO ANALYSIS 13

References

Middleton, J., & Jansen, A. (2011). Motivation Matters and Interest Counts: Fostering

Engagement in Mathematics. Reston, VA.: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2009). Focus in High School Mathematics:

Reasoning and Sense Making. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to Actions. Reston, VA:

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Small, M., & Lin, A. (2010). More Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Secondary

Mathematics Instruction. New York : Teachers College Press ; Reston, VA : National

Council of Teachers of Mathematics ; [Scarborough, Ont.] : Nelson Education, c2010.

Smith, M., & Stein, M. (2011). 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics

Discussions. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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