|I found this book buried in a closet.|
The game was familiar. This past summer, at the Middlesex Math-Science Partnership program at Middlesex County Community College, Dr. Milou had challenged us, playing from 1-20. He took great pleasure in trouncing all combatants, one after another, until someone in the group figured out the winning strategy.
|This caught my eye. Might this game be employed in the struggle against 3.MD.B.4?|
I asked Jen if I could use her class to experiment, and she agreed. First, I taught the kids how to play a basic game, with the first player saying either the number 1 or the numbers 1 and 2, and the players then alternating the count by one or two numbers in sequence from where the other player left off, with the player saying 20 the winner. I channeled Dr. Milou, beat everyone in class, and left the defeated third graders with the assignment to play the game with each other whenever they could.
When I came back the following week, they were excited to tell me that they had figured out the strategy: the player who can say 17 is assured of winning. They hadn't gotten any further, but it was a start, and I urged them to continue playing. In the meantime, I explained that I had a different game to teach them. I explained the "fraction variation": same rules, but instead of using whole numbers and counting from 1 to 20, we were going to count by 1/4s from 1 to 5.
|I played a demo game on the board. I recorded my count in red and the student's in blue. I wanted them to record their counts, in the hopes that we could connect this number line to the quarter inch ruler. |
|They picked it up quickly.|
|We had to tape two pieces of paper together to get the right length.|
|This is the item I was interested in. 17 out of 18 kids had gotten all three parts correct.|
|I took our standard grade 3 ruler and photocopied and enlarged it.|
|I whited out the numbers and put two on an 11" by 18" page.|
|Would you look at that! It's a ruler! And marked at quarter inch intervals, too.|
My hope is that, if they play enough, the kids can start to notice certain patterns: that the whole numbers live on the longest lines, the 1/4 and 3/4 on the shortest, the 2/4 right in between. (And I would like to transition the kids to writing 1/2 instead of 2/4, although this is a good way to reinforce these equivalent fractions.)
My hope is to avoid Captain Ahab's fate, and one day vanquish 3.MD.B.4 once and for all. So... what's your white whale?