## Thursday, 16 March 2017

### Spiral of Inquiry (Term 1, Week 7)

Last week and this week our class has been looking at Statistics.
Because of this, we can't use as much materials as we have when we were learning about place value and decimals. It's more practically inclined.

Last week as a break from their maths, I gave the students a basic facts test that is broken down by stages. I gave my lower students the stage 4 test (addition + subtraction to 10) and they all did great, so I gave them stage 5 (the national standard for year 5 students at the beginning of the year). Here they began to fall apart.

I quickly realised that two of the boys didn't have the skill, knowledge and/or confidence to count backwards from a given number (up to 20), or subtract from 20. They were fine with 10, but 20 they couldn't do.

Today I pulled these two boys out for some materials maths. I got out the trusty popsicle sticks and we practised subtracting from 10. They understood this already and were confident in doing their takeaways, so I challenged them to not use their hands (i.e. imaging). I would ask them subtraction questions and they would answer without touching the popsicle sticks (I could see them counting in their heads though..).

They quickly memorised their groupings to 10 (5+5, 3+7, 8+2, 1+9, 4+6 and vice versa) and were able to answer quickly.

Next we moved onto doing the same thing, but up to 20. This was a bit harder for them and took a lot more practice before they felt confident.

I asked them to lay their 20 popsicle sticks out in 2 rows of 10. This helped them to understand that 20-12 isn't so scary, you first -10 then -2, leaving you with 8. Both boys slowly caught onto this and were able to show how they were thinking using the popsicle sticks. Again we practised our groupings to 20 (12+8, 13+7, 15+5, etc). They struggled a little here so we got the sticks back out and practised a few more times.

Here he is showing 20-6, by taking 6 sticks from one group of 10 and he is left with 4 ones in one row and 10 in the other row.

Here Lopi covers 3 sticks, showing 20-17. He got the point where he didn't need to physically take away the sticks, but could imagine them removed and give me the answer anyway.

As a cool down, I asked them 'what comes before' or 'what comes after' whatever number I thought of. They were amazing with numbers to 20, as it was fresh in their mind, and good until 100, then one boy fell apart and wouldn't answer anything above 100. This lack of confidence showed me he was quite insecure about his number knowledge in large numbers which is something I can address another time.

Then we practising skip counting, which is another thing I know they are not confident in doing.
We used the popsicle sticks to count in groups of 2 and we also wrote it down.

They both left feeling good about themselves (important! maths self-efficacy is always so low..)  and knowing they COULD do it. I want to work them again so they don't forget the subtraction strategy they were practising today. They also need to practice skip counting, and improve their number knowledge of large numbers (100-1000).