Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Rolling Dice Microworld and Learning Fractions

Common Core, no more? The new governor of Florida has decided to eliminate their version of the common core standards and replace it with something else. But he doesn’t know what that will be. All he knows at the moment is that he is committed to teaching the basics (reading, writing and mathematics). 

Meanwhile a teacher posting on My NCTM’s community forum suggests that teachers should not use a particular textbook because it isn’t aligned with the standards. 

Another 4th grade teacher who was falling behind her common core pacing chart decided to skip a chapter on probability to try to catch up. My reaction was what a missed opportunity. I’m sure she wanted her students to learn their fractions but skipping the probability chapter is not the best way to do that since fractions can be taught using probability as a motivator. 

She may have known that, but her concern that a poor performance by her students on standardized tests would reflect badly on her teaching forced her hand. 

Probability would enhance student interest in learning fractions, but this teacher needed to save time and go directly to the fraction skills chapter. So how can an elementary teacher get the best of both worlds?

The answer is to blend the learning of fractions in the context of probability using technology in the same lesson unit or chapter. It’s too bad textbook companies don’t do a good job with that. 

Here’s my attempt to help with solving this problem. I’m working on a mini probability project that includes three dynamic microworlds written in Scratch

These three links will get you an initial peek at these three draft activities.