Saturday, December 10, 2011

Teaching Kids to Explain Their Math Problems

Okay, so ... getting kids to explain their math work is like pulling teeth challenging at best! 

At first I gave my kiddos a word problem for them to solve and then asked them to explain how they figured it out. They had so much trouble! Then I thought about it...I think the problem was too easy...they knew how to figure it out with math facts.

So, I gave them this problem to solve:

There are 4 people sitting at the table. Each person has 5 fingers on each hand. How many fingers are there altogether?

This is what I got!

As you can see...we still have some work to do, but I think they are getting a little better!

How do you get your kids to 'explain' their work in math? I would love to have more ideas!



  1. Great lesson!!!!! I'm your newest follower!

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  2. WOw! I think your kids did a great job! This is grade one? A lot my little guys would have troubles just copying out the problem -- ha ha.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Grade ONEderful

  3. No Barbara! These are 2nd graders in 3rd grade math! They would sure be some advanced 1st graders, huh? Thanks for becoming a follower! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get lots of freebies & stuff! Thanks again!

  4. Hi, Hilary. I have been following your blog and love all your ideas:) This post is especially exciting to me, because I am trying the same thing this year! I read a book called "Math Exchanges" by Kassia Omohundro and also "Children's Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction" Thomas P. Carpenter. They explain what kind of questions to ask and how to challenge children. I just LOVE my small group time. I never tried regrouping and subtraction problems in 100's with my first graders before!! But, I found out some were ready!! They have so many different ways to come to the answer and prove it!! Next year my school may be trained in CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction). Now I am off to type up a word problem for next week!

  5. That is awesome Leka! I am going to check that book out! Thanks for the tip...I am really loving my small group time as well. Thanks for following as well! Have you signed up for the newsletter? Lots of freebies! Thanks again!


  6. I have the same problem! Here is what I am trying...

  7. Great way to learn math. Good math article.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Before doing a math, you should read the question at least 3 times so that you can understand each and every sentence and always keep in mind what will have to find out from the question. You may see the resume cover letter to read more about this issue.


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