|I was curious: How many multiplication sentences could be made using the 48 numbers on the board as both factors and products. With three per sentence, could someone make 16?|
|Close!! But can you spot the mistake?|
First, Rich and I let them get reacquainted with the game. We pulled out the boards they were familiar with. I was pleased to see that the majority remembered how to play, and for the rest a quick review of the rules was sufficient to get them up and running. I thought it might make things more meaningful if we explored the unit's vocabulary (prime, composite, even, odd, square), using the numbers from the board. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out the scissors and glue again!
I thought they might find it helpful to use Venn diagrams. Many of them chose prime and composite as their first sort. Of course there was much debate about where to put the number 1.
|Some students used reference books.|
Many students finished one sort, and we encouraged them to choose two new labels and try another. And since we're into noticing and wondering, we asked them to write one thing they noticed about their diagram. These ran along the lines of statements like:
- Most of the even numbers between 1 and 37 are not square, except 4 and 16.
- There are no numbers that are both prime and composite.
- 2 is the only even prime number.
I liked that they were attempting to out into words what they were seeing in their Venns.
|We introduced the advanced grid with a noticing and wondering "do now".|
My experience exploring the learning opportunities embedded in the game Factor Captor has me excited about the possibilities that lay hidden within other games, at other grade levels. It has me thinking more about how we can put games to better use in math class. In my experience, games such as Factor Captor are used as reinforcements for concepts and skills that have been previously taught. Teachers might provide their students with the opportunity to play them at centers, or when they are done with classwork. But children who struggle often have limited opportunities to play; it may take them most of the class period to complete their assigned work. For others, playing the same game in the same way over and over again can quickly become just as dull as another workbook page. But what if we used the games, not as afterthoughts, or as ways to keep some kids busy while we work with others, but as the vehicles to deliver instruction? Turn them upside down and inside out, take them apart and put them back together? Not every game lends itself to this kind of treatment, but there are many that will. I have some in mind; feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions.