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Explain Your Thinking

Posted by Angie Seltzer on 1/17/2018 to K-5 Math Habits
Model Relationships

Are you giving kids lots of opportunities to explain math to each other? 

In the MP Standards for K-12, standard #3 is summarized as "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others." Those are mighty big words for youngsters in elementary school, but the basic meaning is that students should be able to explain their thinking.

Key Questions to Help Kids Explain Their Thinking
  • Do the numbers and operations make sense?
  • How can you show objects, diagrams, or drawings for the situation?
  • How is this problem related to others you have solved?
How Does the Design of Multi-Match Card Sets Promote Math Discussions?
Consider these samples from two card sets. 
Sample Games with Models
  • Cards Show Multiple Representations: Since cards show models, expressions, and/or numbers, kids working together will have the tools at hand to explain how the models are related to the numbers and expressions. For example, in the Arrays of Equal Addends card set, kids can point to each row as they explain that 5 rows of 3 matches 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3. 
  • Cards Show Related Questions: Images and expressions in each card sets were chosen to encourage students to see relationships. In the Area of a Triangle card set there are triangles with base 4 and height 9, and others with base 8 and height 18. Students may explain to each other that the measurements are doubled but the area of the larger triangle is FOUR times that of the smaller one.
  • Games Motivate Kids to Watch for Errors: Kids can win games or earn points by matching cards correctly. They are more likely to watch for other kids' mistakes in order to protect their own chance of winning. Thus, when a student tries to match cards incorrectly, another student will try to explain the error.
The printable Multi-Match card sets span grades K-8 and all Common Core domains. Check the menus for this site to find FREE and priced games for your grade level.
Thanks for visiting my blog! 

Angie Seltzer

P.S. Visit K-8 Math Sense at TeachersPayTeachers, TeachersNotebook, and TeachersDojo. For digital card activities, visit BoomLearning and/or the E-Games page on this site.