Students are learning math by talking it out in a new approach to promote understanding of math concepts and problem solving.
At West Elementary School, first grade teachers Susan Schantzen and Heather Vaillancourt have been experimenting with a method called “number talk.” “It’s a five- to 15-minute group conversation around a purposely crafted problem,” Schantzen told the Hutchinson School Board.
The students are given a math problem, and time to talk about it, solving it with no paper or number line.
“When you start talking about a number talk in your classroom, the first thing you need to do is build the class up,” Schantzen said. Mistakes are OK because everyone has an opportunity to talk about how to do the math.
Students share their answers, and also the steps of how to solve the problem. This way, students discover various methods for solving a problem and learn to use their minds instead of writing or using manipulatives.