It's the 'teachable moments' that sometimes lead to the best discussions in our classroom. Our dear Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 years old on Thursday, and though I knew I wanted to talk about it with the kiddos, I didn't know it was going to become a math lesson.
Here's what many parents don't know. Alberta Learning has a Literacy and Numeracy framework. This means that no matter what subject you are teaching, you as a teacher should be making connections to literacy and numeracy. Most people know what literacy is, but not as many know what the term numeracy refers to.
I use this definition: the ability to understand and work with numbers
In the USA, NCTM (the big mathematics council) uses the words
"A person's general understanding of number and operations along with the ability to use this understanding in flexible ways to make mathematical judgements and to develop useful strategies for solving complex problems" when they talk about number sense.
Think about it this way: numeracy is really putting the math that you know to work for you in the real world.
That's what we did on Thursday. Real world application for addition and subtraction.
Can you make connections to the open number line work that the students did (think strategy)
and the extension of large number subtraction (think algorithm) and did the work with numbers give a solution (think problem solving)?
I asked the students to use the open number line to find the difference (great vocabulary) between the year that Queen Elizabeth was born and this year. The student sharing his thinking chose to start with the smaller number (1926) and move to the larger one (2016). He also decided that he could make jumps of 20. I was so, so proud of the young girl who explained to the class why a jump of 10 was all that could be taken between 2006 and 2016. That is what we aim for...playing with numbers with confidence!
The next student chose to start at 2016 and count back to 1952 to see how many years Queen Elizabeth has been the reigning monarch. To really show them that they were smarter than they thought they were, we then did the algorithm. Of course the solution of 64 years was the same as when they used the open number line. It's important for them to know that there's more than one way to get to a solution.
Thanks for this great opportunity dear Elizabeth!
Long may you reign!