Today's Inspirational Math activity was called "Paper Folding." Before jumping into the activity, we needed to warm up our brains. To do this, we started with a Guess My Number activity. Students were given four clues with which to guess the number. Next, we worked on estimation skills by completing an estimation180.com activity.
Now that our brains were nice and awake, it was time to tackle the misconception for the day: the idea that if you are able to solve math problems quickly, you must be smart in math. The video today disproved this very quickly. After viewing the video, I asked the students if they were surprised by what they heard and if this changed what they believed about famous mathematicians.
Now it was time to tackle the problem. I explained that they would be folding paper into various shapes, but that they would have to convince me, using reasoning, to justify their thinking. To model, I held up a cube and asked the students to name the figure. They were able to name it as a cube, but I threw them for a loop when I told them to prove it. Typically they would say that it had six faces and I would counter that a rectangular prism did as well. By the time we completed our discussion, they realized that in order to justify their reasoning they would need to be able to use critical attributes of the shapes we created.
Before beginning, I warned the classes that the activities would be difficult, but that when a task is difficult, your brain is growing. We discussed the importance of having grit and perseverance.
Finally, I gave the students a sheet of copy paper and challenged them to fold the paper in such a way that they would have a perfect square to work with. Once we had discovered how to fold the paper into a square, I required the class to convince me that the shape I was holding was truly a square.
We worked through a few of the other paper folding activities but were stymied by the third set of instructions. Keep in mind, I am working with 5th graders. However, I used this opportunity to remind students that it was important not to get frustrated, but to remember that we were growing our brain!
To finish out the lesson, I had them complete the following two sentences:
- Math should never be associated with speed because
- Students should always pause for reflection and take time to make sense of the math they are learning because
However, I instructed the classes to CONVINCE me that these statements were true. They had to use the reasoning and justification strategies that we had used in the activity.
To finish out the day, I had the classes post their Math About Me pages to their Kidblog page. To view your child's work, please visit the appropriate link below: