Monday, November 26, 2012

The Most Basic Math Manipulative

Last week, my class was working on mixed numbers in math.  I had tried everything – manipulative pieces, iPad apps, drawings, explanations, but I had 2 students who were just stuck on this concept.  They just couldn’t seem to grasp what I was talking about.  Then, one day at lunch, we came across the answer – oranges.  Everyone wanted more oranges, but there weren’t enough oranges left for everyone to have one.  So one of our directors took the two oranges, peeled them and split them between the students.  One of my students who has been stuck on mixed numbers said “Look Mrs. Raki, we get to eat two oranges!”

Talk about dropping a teachable moment in my lap.  WSome of the best learning happens not because we plan it, but because of those wonderful teachable moments.  Stop by Raki's Rad Resources and see how I used oranges at lunch to teach mixed numbers.e talked right then about how she actually had one whole and a fraction – a mixed number.  Then, as a class we walked out front the the orange tree (Yes, we are lucky at the International School of Morocco and we have our own orange tree!), and collected some oranges.  We went upstairs and immediately used the oranges to model and write out a variety of mixed numbers, and to add, subtract and divide using fractions.  None of this, of course was on my lesson plans, but my kids had light bulb moments and serious learning took places, so who cares!

What’s the best lesson you every taught that WASN’T IN THE LESSON PLANS?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources