Math Talk adds up to improved student engagement
Math Talk adds up to improved student engagement
Posted on 01/25/2019
Students talking about math problem

On a recent Friday at West Utica Elementary school, the talk in at least one classroom was all about waffles and math.

The Waffles discussion was students using a descriptive way to solve a division problem – specifically three divided five.

The math discussion was part of an overall strategy call Math Talk that more engages students in their learning by asking them to go through the steps used to solve a problem.

“It makes feel better about math,” said fifth grader Kayden Crute, a student in Marie Wojnowski’s classroom. “I like seeing the different strategies people use and I also understand it a little better if you talk about it.”

Math Talk is part of a new mathematics series – Math Expressions – that was introduced at UCS elementary schools this year.

Through Math Talk, students discuss the process they are using to find solutions to math problems with their teacher, one-on-one or in their class.

By discussing their solutions, students take a greater responsibility for solving problems and create a better understanding of the process used to find answers.

I like seeing different strategies being used – I don’t like just using mine,” said West Utica fifth grader James Lasceski.

Math Expressions is a comprehensive research-based mathematics program that addresses the rigor of all Michigan Academic Standards and the eight Mathematical Practices.

This series integrates student inquiry, discussions focusing on mathematical thinking, hands-on learning and problem solving, as well as the pairing of modeled examples.

Math Expressions provides students skills through experiences that create understanding using models, discussion, exploration, inquiry, and guided instruction.

For West Utica fifth graders, the new strategies reinforce the importance of learning math.

“It’s very important because you use it in your everyday life,” Lasceski said.