This Term Sue Pine our facilitator for Maths has shown us how group worthy questions can be a great tool to encourage mathematical discussions among students. So Last week I gave group worthy open ended questions to my class.
The question was - There are some bears and they are going to the picnic in cars. Five bears can fit in a car. How many bears are going to the picnic.
There was lots of thinking, discussion and working out of problems using different numbers. They drew their understanding of the problem on the paper. But as they became confident, they started enjoying solving problems and asked me to give them some pictures of cars. To my surprise they started to make their own questions using their pictures.
Initially, students started by skip counting in fives and then slowly worked out their way to find answers to problems involving bigger numbers. For example 100 bears can go in 20 cars so 115 bears will go in 3 more cars and that makes a total of 23 cars. Language associated with multiplication like 'groups of' or 'time' all became very clear to the students and the best thing was that they all taught each other how to solve the problems. it was a great lesson and I felt a very happy teacher. This is what students did in groups to solve the problems.