The new teaching model shows students are engaged in learning math in a much more active way.   There is less drilling of students with worksheets, and more group work, in which students are asked to explore multiple ways of real-life problem solving.

Sixth-grade teacher Joal McMahon said the new teaching model — collaborative inquiry learning for mathematics — allows educators to facilitate and guide learning.

If a grasshopper covers 25 centimetres each jump and jumps eight times, how far does it go?

Real-Life Problem SolvingIt has taken a solid hour for the kids in Susan Wright’s Grade 3 class at St. Angela Catholic elementary school to solve this single math problem. But what an hour.

Because these days at Windsor’s elementary schools, kids are learning math slowly, intensively and collaboratively. Instead of mowing through work sheets, they’re breaking off into groups, discussing the different ways to solve the problem, drawing diagrams, writing out answers in sentence form and presenting  their solutions to their classmates, who respond with raised hands and their own ideas.

“The first way we did it, we decided to do 25 times eight because we know he jumps eight times and 25 centimetres each jump, so that’s 200 ,” explained nine-year-old Max Foster, who was partnered with pal Michael Tersigni. But then after doing this multiplication, Max thought: “Wait a second, I want to show that in metres too,” so they divided by 100 to come up with two metres. Max said he enjoys the challenge of working on a math question this way. “If maybe you get a similar question later on in your life, it’ll be a lot simpler,” he said.

Next table over, Keegan Renaud, Roberto Venosa and Sandy Munoz first added 25 eight times, but then tried to solve it by counting by 25s to 100, then doubling it to come up with 200. “If you can do it this way, then maybe you can do it a different way,” said Keegan.

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