I remember well the month that math and I got into what has become a life-long fight and a huge parting of ways. It was third grade, and the instigator was...multiplication facts. We struggled to find peace with each other for months upon months, with the list of casualties including my ego, my mom, my teacher Mrs. Eubanks, even my poor high school math teacher who couldn't wrap his head around the fact that I had to do some serious quick calculations to figure out 8 x 7. Yeah, it was that bad. And ever since then, math and I haven't really been on speaking terms.
Which is why I did great teaching 1st grade. Or Kindergarten. Or even 2nd grade. Nope, no multiplication facts there. I could easily explain the decomposition of numbers or why you borrow when subtracting 3 digit numbers. Easy peasy. Until I moved to 4th grade math and realized I couldn't even understand two of the Common Core math standards (4.NF.4a & b, in case you're wondering. "Understand a fraction a/b as a multiple of 1/b and...understand a multiple of a/b as a multiple of 1/b"...I mean, really, you smarties that wrote the Common Core couldn't figure out a way to say that in simpler terms? Or in English??) And so began my quest to make peace with math...or kick some math butt, depending on my mood.
One person helping me out this week - Dan Meyer. He's only been in my life 2 days, but I would like to officially refer to him as my math love. Could I be married to him and put up with his math mind 24/7? No. But do I want to show every single one of his math videos and problems to my kids? Like, starting tomorrow? Most definitely. He's a high school math teacher, so most of his stuff is end of 4th/5th/6th grade, which is a bummer. But I'm finding I'm able to adapt some of his stuff. And watching some of his videos has gotten my own math mind going, and I've been able to write some really good math tasks the past two days. One of them was even a math task to teach 4.NF.4a. Take that, math. Kirsten, 1. Math...well, we don't really need to keep score. Let's just say I finally won one.
Want more Dan Meyer tasks? Here's a shortcut to a list of his 3 Act Tasks, which are incredible!