Math 8 – Classes started off as a quick review of adding integers but it turned into an in-depth review.
The class was asked to give examples and non-examples of natural numbers and then integers. They were then asked to give examples of equations with integers. I then formed groups and asked each group to come up with at least one strategy for solving an equation with integers. All names and groups were generated randomly.
The most common strategy the kids came up with was using a number line, along with some examples using modeling/grouping. Several kids say they “just do it using my brain.” They have a harder time explaining their strategy as they learn proper language to describe what they do. We then went over the strategies together.
It was common to see students solve something like 3 + (-8) using a number line. When I then challenge them to do 3 – (-8) it gets much more difficult. I encouraged them to use an inverse operation so that 3 – (-8) = 3 + (+8).
Using proper language is awkward at times, since it is easy to say “instead of subtracting, add the opposite”, but that doesn’t quite describe what is happening mathematically.
At the end of the day we had bad news: all of the grade 8 classes are being rescheduled. So the first three classes we did with problem solving and creating a thinking classroom has to be re-done.