Team Work makes the Math Work

Team Work makes the Math Work

I don't need to tell you that the pandemic has had some significate affects in our students learning, especially in math. Analysis shows that on average students are 5 months behind in math learning and that number increases for historically disadvantaged students to as 7 months of learning loss. 

Now that students are back in the classroom one step we can take to increase math learning is to make math a group or team activity.  Group work helps student improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills; it helps them express their understanding in a safe atmosphere that is interactive supportive and efficient.  Groupwork helps students use mathematical vocabulary and incorporate life experiences into their understanding of the math problem. 


A few things to think about when doing group math work.


1.    Grouping students: A group is a social unit that is comprised of two or more people who have a common goal. Here are three different way to group students and the pros and cons to each.

  1. Student Choice –

                                                   i.     Pros: positive attitudes towards each other – higher outcomes – less planning

                                                 ii.     Cons: less diversity – some students not selected – off task talking

  1. Random Grouping –

                                                   i.     Pros: less planning – group diversity – builds communication skills

                                                 ii.     Cons: negative attitude about selection – lower group cohesion

  1. Educator Selected Academics –

                                                   i.     Pros: organized based on needs, improves dept of learning

                                                 ii.     Cons: widens achievement gaps, planning, labeling

  1. Group roles: Students should know that they will not be able so succeed on their own unless the others will.  Students should have roles to help in the solving of the problem, these roles should change as students form new groups.
  1. Leader – keeps students on task, delegates
  3. Recorder – writes out responses
  5. Challenger – questions
  7. Thinker – produces ideas
  9. Supporter – eases tension and promotes people ideas
  1. Math problems
  1. Multi-step to encourage deeper thinking
  3. Relatable so students  understand the necessity of learning (if children are in the problem have      the students change the names to their own)
  5. Provide information on problem solving strategies so they can select the best way to find a solution.

        Problem solving strategies

1.    Guess and Check

2.    Draw a picture

3.    Act it out

4.    Create a grid

5.    Find a pattern

6.    Use logic

7.    Work backwards

8.    Simplify problem  


These steps will help student improve their math understanding quicker than any worksheet or web-game. Check out MANGO Math for fun hands-on math games that engage and educated students while they enjoy math.