Title: "Get Students Arguing in Math Class with Number Sense Activities."
Description: Get students to productively argue about math situations. Participate in number sense activities requiring students to construct viable arguments, critique the reasoning of others, and use sense-making. Get ready to throw down.
I also had to answer a few questions justifying the session and connecting it to the CCSS and 8 Mathematical Practices. I provided the following connection:
The presenter will use number sense activities to get participants to construct viable arguments and share their reasoning like students. Using presenter-made tasks (Estimation 180) and other online resources appropriate for grades 3-8, attendees will be able to see the importance of student reasoning and creating productive discourse in the classroom. Teachers will also be provided with sentence frames and stems for all students, especially English language learners.
I'm really excited at the thought of this session getting accepted so I figured I would jot down a few ideas here and see what you all have to contribute. Even if I'm not accepted, I think every math class has to have students productively arguing at times. Doing estimation challenges with my students has been so beneficial for them to get better at the art of arguing. However, I know it could be better. I'm not sure if you've ever experienced it before, but it's a treat to stand off to the side or in back of a group of students arguing about a question in math. They have no idea you're nearby because they are so caught up in the argument. Don't get me wrong, it's not like they're swearing at each other and calling each other names. They are having a rich discussion, sharing conjectures, examples, counterexamples, etc. and I have the pleasure of spectating. I usually turn to an innocent bystander (nearby student) and whisper, "Awesome, look at them arguing. Isn't it great?" The student usually looks shocked that I'm happy their classmates are arguing. I love it!
I'd like this session to place a big emphasis on two mathematical practices:
MP 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
I plan to break these two practices down more in my session. For now, I feel I need to focus on three major parts to arguments: having excellent content, capturing the arguments, and indirect facilitation.
Content: There's a wealth of content available, but I think the more controversial the point of contention, the better. One of my favorite moments in math class was when we did Mathalicious' Datelines lesson. Students were arguing about which celebrity shouldn't date another celebrity because of the age discrepancy. Some students disagreed about the rule of (n/2) + 7, especially since I was teaching 14 year-olds at the time. It was awesome.
Here's my current list of resources that have given my students great things to argue about:
These don't have to be full-on lessons. They can be warm-ups, math talks, used during classroom transitions or to break up your direct instruction, etc. I'm really looking forward to using @MathCurmudgeon's site MathArguments180.com
Imagine your students arguing about which student should pack your parachute based on this data.
Open Middle by Robert Kaplinsky and Nanette Johnson.
What resources would you add to my content list?
Capture: I need to capture these arguments for a few reasons. Students need to listen to other students argue, especially from different classes. My memory is very porous, and I can't remember what students say verbatim. Students can listen to the recordings and pick a side, or provide their own agreement or dissent. I'd also love to share student arguments with other teachers, especially at this session. How do I capture this?
I just downloaded Voice Memos for iPad onto my school iPad. I will test it out next week with students. Wish me luck. Here are the features I'm optimistic about:
- It will record in the background while another app is running.
- It was $1.
- I can pause the recording.
- I can trim audio clips.
- I can sync with Dropbox.
Have any tips for capturing student arguments?
- My opinion about this is _____________.
- I could argue that _____________.
- I disagree with your statement that _____________ because _____________.