Words Come to Life

Taking a math word problem and making it real with authentic representation.

Photo of CAROLYN CRAIG
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As a fifth grade math teacher, I am given the task of teaching a skill (such as 4 digit by 2 digit multiplication) and then providing my students with the knowledge to apply that skill to a word problem., 

After reading a word problem about a florist that had 9 daffodils and twice as many tulips and then donated them equally to 3 parks, I began to visualize how my students might better to see the "why" in these problems if they could actually talk to a florist.

Having a variety of classroom visitors would be wonderful but a bit overwhelming.  However, with technology we could bring  the visitor to the classroom through such means as skype, video chat, or videoing our visitor with the use of a phone.

I believe that students would benefit from  this interaction in a variety of ways.  Not only would they encounter many different occupations, but they would also see the benefit of applying math skills to real world situations with real people.



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Photo of Michelle Fontenot
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Hi Carolyn! I think the idea of making math concrete, visual, and understandable for all students is so important. I wonder what other types of word problems might be brought to life? Could students draw random shapes or letters or "widgets" to represent objects they aren't familiar with (knowing we can't address everything)? 

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