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.
i. Pros: positive attitudes towards each other – higher outcomes – less planning
ii. Cons: less diversity – some students not selected – off task talking
i. Pros: less planning – group diversity – builds communication skills
ii. Cons: negative attitude about selection – lower group cohesion
i. Pros: organized based on needs, improves dept of learning
ii. Cons: widens achievement gaps, planning, labeling
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.