## Thinking Questions

This idea came from Alice Keeler and the late Diana Herrington’s book Teaching Math with Google Apps. I have wanted to implement it for some time and even had some conversations with Alice about how she is currently using it. This year I finally created some. The whole point behind this type of question is to get student to look up information, explain their thinking, and persevere until they have it correct.

Now, Alice does a much more in depth version of this, and I LOVE it, but my students aren’t ready for it yet. We will get there!

I give the students a question on a slide. One portion is for their answer, another portion is for them to explain their thinking. I leave comments and return them if they need correction or more in depth explanation. Taking some advice from Alice, I started off by giving students credit as quickly as possible. They will get frustrated and quit if they have to resubmit too many times. If the response if VERY incorrect, I will conference with the student face -to -face so we can discuss their misconceptions and they can be more successful with their next submission. I only give one of these a week and I do give them a grade for it. But remember, they can resubmit based on feedback as many times as needed.

Here are some examples of thinking questions I’ve given Geometry so far.

I don’t assign points for practice but I’m making the exception for this. I feel like the effort and perseverance creates a deeper mathematical understanding. The students have responded well to it and most students turn it in successfully.

As always, let me know if you use this idea in your classroom.

Posted in Algebra 1, Functions, Questioning

## Math Talk – Functions

I am always trying to include student discourse and critical thinking in my lessons. This activity started as a sort that we would do AFTER the lesson was completed. This year I decided to change it up and created this slide deck as a lesson opener. The students were told which ones were functions and which ones were not and they had to talk at their tables and determine WHY they were functions. I asked the “What do you notice?” and “What patterns do you see?” type questions.

Both Algebra 1 classes came up with a pattern they noticed and they were able to narrow their pattern down to the x-axis, which is awesome. I continued with this discussion using tables, then function maps and asked if their pattern worked for those as well.  When we started the formal note section, they were already comfortable with their idea of a function and I could use their words to tie into math vocabulary. I love when they create their own ideas and knowledge from questions instead of simply writing down what I give in notes. It means so much more to them.

I followed this activity by giving each student a relation and they had to defend on Flipgrid if it was a function and why. I love to have students explain on Flipgrid!

I’ve included a link to the slide deck I used for this activity if this is something you would also like to use.

Posted in Inequalities, Questioning

## Questions for Inequalities lesson

This is an exploratory lesson for inequalities and absolute value. It involves questioning and students demonstrating their understanding with a visual. I find it difficult to script my question writing because I take cues from my students, but hopefully, this will be a good place to start. You will be tempted to show your students a number line like below. Don’t do this. They will probably use this because they’ve seen it before but don’t limit them. You will be surprised with the visual representations that your students will come up with.

This is a 3 lesson series that build upon the last. Inequalities is the first lesson in the series.

x+4<5      What numbers make this statement true? Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

What are some ideas about you have that would help us solve this problem? Try them out and see if you get a solution similar to your visual representation from before.

Discuss successes and failures as a group and what we could learn from them.

-2x > 6      What numbers make this statement true? Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

Solve this one with the same method you used before or another method you hear about when we discussed.  Was this process the same or different? Why do you think it was this way?

-3x+2  ≤  -4      What numbers make this statement true? Can we use the same procedure as before?  Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

Solve this one with the same method you used before or another method you hear about when we discussed.  Was this process the same or different? Why do you think it was this way?

What is a rule that seems to work for all of these? Discuss at your table, everyone has something to add.

Compound Inequalities

-5<x<4       How might this problem be the same and different from the ones before?  What numbers make this statement true? Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

What ideas do you have for solving this? We will share our ideas and discuss.

-9 ≤ 2x + 3 < 5     What numbers make this statement true? Can we use the same procedure as before?  Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

Try to solve this based on our discussion. What are some thoughts you have about this type of problem?

6 > -2x +4 ≥ -12       What numbers make this statement true? Create a visual representation to show all of the solutions your group finds.

Solve this one with the same method you used before or another method you hear about when we discussed.  Was this process the same or different? Why do you think it was this way?

What is a rule that seems to work for all of these? Discuss at your table, everyone has something to add.

5x ≥ 15 or 2x+3 < -13   How would you solve this? Think and discuss with your table and try to find a solution. You can use any method that works.

I would at the end talk about AND and OR symbols and have the students write down what they feel like is important for notes.

The next lesson will explore Absolute Value.

Posted in Questioning, Solving Equations

## Solving Equations Questions

When we began our first unit in Algebra we wanted to set the stage for good questioning and not just wrote note taking. Here are a few of the questions we used with our table groups so students would talk and form knowledge about what we were learning. We encourage students to debate with each other and provide solid mathematical evidence to support their thoughts.

• Variable
• At your table, discuss the variable in the problem and how you would solve for it: 2x-4=10
• Operations
• 4x+8=18 How do you use inverse operations to solve this?
• Coefficient
• Locate the coefficient(s), what happens to the coefficient when you solve.
• 5x=3x+2
• Expression vs equation
• How could you make this expression an equation? Now solve at your table.
• 3.5x+12

When are are finished with each section, we ask the students what they think would be important to write down. Some write a lot, some not as much. It’s important for them to learn how much information they need for their own learning.

Posted in Questioning

## Questioning Tab

I loved taking notes. I’m probably one of the few students in my class who took pride in my notebook and wanted neat orderly notes with colorful dividers. I’ve never looked at those notes since the class ended. I don’t remember much about what was in them. I mostly wrote down what the teacher told me to write and didn’t have to think about it much. I don’t want this for my students. I want them to talk about what we are learning, debate their thinking and really dig into the knowledge.

One way I’ve found to do this is to ask guiding questions and then let students discuss at their table. You can search from the side menu through the questioning posts or you can go to the questioning tab at the top where I will curate all the posts with guiding questions. If you have suggestions, please send them through the Google Form link in the menu.