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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 4, Day 1 – Fractions at Work (Rising 3rd/4th)

Posted by on Monday, July 9, 2018 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Welcome to Fractions at Work! Your mathematicians arrived ready to learn and explore all the applied math in our world.

It was delightful getting to know your students! Collaboration, taking academic risks and practicing communicating ideas are vital features of a SAVY session. As partners, we used various models [pool noodle segments, fraction strips, pizza circles] to consider equivalent fractions. This led to discussion of adding fractional parts in which learners discovered and understood the methods, rather than just being told the “how” of operations. Since fractions are such an important part of our everyday experiences, focusing on meaning rather than rules actually gives students a facility for understanding and working with fractions that will provide a lifelong benefit. It’s such fun to facilitate these bright learners!

With a foundation of equivalent and benchmark fractions, we are able to work flexibly with fractions to solve problems. Throughout the week we will compare, order and operate with fractions. A mastery of fractions is seen as a crucial stepping stone to progressing in math. According to a 2012 study led by Bob Siegler, a professor of cognitive psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, a child’s knowledge of fractions in fifth grade [and our SAVY courses are approximately 2 years advanced content] predicts performance in high-school math classes, even after controlling for IQ, reading achievement, working memory, family income and education, and knowledge of whole numbers.

We are already noticing the ubiquitous nature of math – it is everywhere! On our walk to the Engineering Building this afternoon, we had a scavenger hunt noticing geometry, fractions, linear relationships everywhere. Kevin Galloway, director of making, gave us an amazing tour of the Maker Space at the Vanderbilt Wond’ry! We loved seeing all equipment demonstrated: 3-D printer, impulse sealer, vacuum chamber, vacuum former, hot wire foam cutter, and more! It is a fabulous space for taking ideas from concept to prototype. Our mathematicians are so enriched seeing the practical applications of math in our world.

Today, we also began our culminating project for the week – urban planning. We chose components in which to work [districts, public spaces, landmarks, or city edges] and we will be collaborating, creating, designing, discussing issues and sharing as the week evolves. Students were very excited about this math application task. We look forward to showing you our plans on Friday.

This SAVY session, we are considering a few deeper reasoning questions: What patterns occur in our number system? How can we express and model fractions to show understanding of operations in a variety of ways? How can you make estimates based on your mathematical thinking when picturing the relative sizes of fractions, and ordering, comparing, adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing 2 or more fractions?

It was a great first day of Fractions SAVY! Thanks for learning with us.

-Ms. Pfister


Photos From Our Field Trip