One way to introduce math entirely in the beginning of the year is to challenge students to open their eyes to math in their own worlds. Encourage them to take pictures of daily tasks they have completed or what they see when they are out with their families. These pictures could be of the students baking and using recipes, creating arrays of cookies, make shapes out of blocks, or noticing angles. Collect these pictures and create a bulletin board. This is a way to drive home the concept that math is not simply numbers on a paper. Math is our world. Math is what we do each day. When math becomes a meaningful part of the students’ lives, they will strive to connect what they are learning and allow it to make strong meaning to them.
Eureka Math introduces base ten counting in the introduction to Grade 2 Module 3, as described in detail in the article, Improve Your (Virtual) Eureka Math Routine. In that lesson, the teacher is physically showing the students what 1,000 straws looks like. The students and teacher together are bundling groups of tens, and then bundling to 100, and then 1,000. When students see these examples they are figuring out the true meaning behind the digits.
Measure Up- Another introductory example is for measurement. Students use rulers and physically measure objects around them. They make comparisons and observations. Students are learning the metric system and also what the concept of size and length are. They are learning that a standard form of measurement is needed in order for our world to all be judging the length of objects the same way. It is also fun to explore how the world would be if we did not all measure the objects the same or have a standard form of measure! With this concept, students are then able to decide which tool is appropriate in various situations.
Eureka Math concepts are not random, but strategically planned out. The measurement unit leads to the unit of addition and subtraction for second grade. With this transition, students are relating that concrete concept of measurement into units. Next, the units become objects that they are bringing together or removing from a group.
Pick Me! When introducing addition and subtraction in units, one way to really get the students involved is to use them! Yes, call up five students and make up a story about them. Then three students have to walk away or join the group. As the students are a live part of the manipulation of units, they are drawn in to find out what happens next.
Using counting cubes or base ten blocks at this phase is the next transition. Students work with their handfuls of cubes adding and taking away parts. Using stories to explain the scenarios is fun and engaging for them.
When teaching virtually, students can play the addition and subtraction stories physically. For example, when we are looking at the students in the Google Meet or Zoom the teacher may say, “There were 18 students in our meet today. Then 4 lost connection". As this happens, the selected four students turn off their camera. The teacher will ask, “How many students are left?” The students are still modeling the story problem and happy to be a part of the example. The teacher can give a variety of examples to give each student a turn to be the star of the problem.
When we use concrete objects for math concepts, we are bringing in the why. Students need to be involved with why this is important. They need to know that learning these concepts matter. When you open up students’ eyes to the concrete concepts of math, they are aware and actively engaged.
Count the Days of School- During calendar work, use straws to count the days of school so far. Then when you hit ten bundle the straws.
Measure- Measure out the length of the classroom in feet and mark it off. Measure the length of your desk in inches and mark it off. This will help to be a benchmark for kids when deciding an appropriate form of measure.
- Classroom Teacher
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