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SAVY 2019: Session 5, Day 2 – Solving for the Unknown (Rising 3rd/4th)

Posted by on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Hello SAVY parents!  I’m very excited for another successful day here at summer SAVY.  The students were still curious about the number trick that was performed during yesterday’s session. We continued that lesson as they came in asking many questions about how the trick worked.  We were able to discuss as a group what information was needed for me to be able to “guess” each participants sum based on me asking one very specific question.  We discovered the pattern in the numbers and identified some characteristics in the cards.  The even numbers provided the maximum sum while the odd numbers provided the minimum sum. Through conversation students were able to recognize that I needed to know the minimum sum ahead of time in order to “guess” the sum of the five numbers that were chosen by each volunteer.  The students were able to make their own version of “Mathematical Trickery” and will be asking to try it on someone at home. Please allow them to work their “Magic” and don’t tell them you already know the secret…SHHHHHH! 😀

Our next lesson was focused on learning a new definition for the term variable.  In the last lesson students learned to use the term variable as a letter that represents a quantity that is varied (the number of even-numbered cards chosen in the number trick). I introduced them to a slightly different meaning of variable.  We discussed how letters or variables can also stand for specific unknowns.  I related this information to the many words in the English language that have multiple meanings such as “bow”, “jam”, and “squash.”  A station rotation allowed students to visit several puzzles that included missing values.  Students were able to rotate through the stations and use various problem-solving strategies to help them to determine the unknown values of the variables in each puzzle. Strategies used include the guess-and-test method and working backwards.

After the students had a chance to check their answer to the puzzles, whole group discussion allowed us to come together and share strategies.  Our final activity included the opportunity for students to create their own variable puzzles.  Students were encouraged to solve their puzzles and create their own answer key before giving the puzzles to a classmate to solve.  The puzzles that were coded by finding the sums of numbers were easier to solve while the puzzles that required students to calculate the product appeared to be more challenging for most students.

Please read through the welcome letter as we will be “Setting Up Shop” as our culminating activity for Open House on Friday.  The overarching ideas about variables and equality will be used to write equations that will represent the price tag for the items in our class store.  Have students to think about what kind of store they would like to set up and the items they will bring for their store. I understand most have traveled far from home so no worries about bringing items. I will supply items where needed. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  Thank you for another great day of summer SAVY!

Thank you so much!!

–D. Polk