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# When 5x12 is more than 60: Exploring Number Talks in High School

Agenda
Number
How

Talk

Dilemmas

## Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Reason abstractly and quantitatively Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Model with mathematics. Use appropriate tools strategically. Attend to precision. Look for and make use of structure. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

## Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

Mathematically

proficient studentsconsider analogous problems and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution.

James

## Heibert: Making Sense (1997)

In order to take advantage of new opportunities and to meet the challenges of tomorrow, todays students need flexible approaches for defining and solving problems.

## Reason abstractly and quantitatively

Quantitative

reasoning entailsattending to the meaning of quantitiesand flexibly using different properties of operations and objects.

## Study by Eddie Gray and David Tall (1994)

Students ages 7-12 in two groups: above average ability & below average ability Gave them three different types of simple addition problems 4 different ways of solving the problems:

## Reason abstractly and quantitatively

Analysis:

The lower ability group was doing a different kind of math!! Highlights the importance of exposing students to many different kinds of strategies for working with numbers.

Mathematically

## Relational vs. Instrumental Understanding in Math

Richard Skemp (1976) wrote about two different types of math understanding

## Relational understanding = knowing both what to do and why

Instrumental understanding = rules without reasons

## Instrumental Understanding: the problem with algorithms

Algorithm = a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problemsolving situations, esp. by a computer Students memorize algorithms, or rules without understanding them and then often forget or mix up the many different rules When the problem doesnt exactly fit a rule, students do not know how to solve it

## Relational Understanding: creating problemsolvers

Skemp writes, the more complete a pupils schema, the greater his feeling of confidence in his own ability to find new ways of getting there without outside help Students can create an overview of problems and develop creative ways to solve them

Attend to precision
Mathematically

proficient students try to communicate precisely to others. Principles and Standards. Heibert

NCTM

study

James

(1993)

## Heibert and Diana Wearne Study

Two

classrooms received alternate instruction (fewer problems, more discussion of methods and strategies)

## Before Instruction Average Ability Question Type # of Questions A B C D High Ability E F

Place Value
Instructed Computation Story Problem New Computation

8
4 1 8

22%
35% 38% 3%

25%
31% 56% 4%

21%
41% 53% 6%

27%
32% 43% 3%

71%
70% 90% 25%

69%
80% 97% 29%

## After Instruction Average Ability Question Type # of Questions A B C D High Ability E F

Place Value
Instructed Computation Story Problem New Computation

7
13 3 5

37%
72% 45% 38%

24%
71% 44% 39%

36%
76% 60% 39%

53%
83% 79% 54%

60%
88% 76% 59%

86%
88% 93% 63%

## Look for and make use of structure

Analysis:

Allowing students to talk about their solution methods leads to better understanding and therefore better results The data reported in this study suggest that, in mathematics classrooms, certain kinds of instructional tasks and discourse encourage more productive ways of thinking.

## Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

They

justify their conclusions, communicate them to others, and respond to the arguments of others.

Noreen

Focused

## Then compared test scores from the four different classrooms

Teacher probed students explanations to uncover details or further thinking about their problem-solving strategies
Classroom Whole-Class Small-Group A 23 36 B 25 25 C 92 77 D 71 50

Student Explaining in Small Groups Classroom Group gave correct/com plete explanation A 16 B 33 C 72 D 56

Student Achievement

Classroom
Written Assessment Interview

A
17 13

B
30 24

C
47 37

D
45 44

## Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

Analysis:

Teacher practices of questioning led to more student explanation and greater percentage of correct answers By asking students to explain their methods for solving problems and refraining from evaluating students answers, teachers helped create expectations and obligations for students to publicly display their thinking

## Possible Dilemmas in high school

Students afraid to share their thinking Maintaining number talks in high school students think its childish How much should a facilitator push? Traditional algorithm Receiving support from other faculty or parents doing number talks alone may be difficult Choosing a problem that is at the right level Supporting English Learners or students with special needs Timing Disjoint between number talk and lesson Status issues Introducing number talks in a way that is meaningful to high schoolers

We will focus on

Students afraid to share their thinking Maintaining number talks in high school students think its childish How much should a facilitator push? Traditional algorithm Receiving support from other faculty or parents doing number talks alone may be difficult Choosing a problem at the right level Supporting English Learners or students with special needs Timing Disjoint between number talk and lesson Status issues Introducing number talks in a way that is meaningful to high school students