In order to build academic language and record the students’ thinking around math, I challenged my beginner English language learners to a math problem involving pumpkin seeds and snack time.
Pumpkin seeds are a good snack. If a handful of pumpkin seeds is a snack for one person, how many people can have a pumpkin seed snack with one small pumpkin?
My reflection: This was definitely a guided inquiry and it gave some really good information on what the students can do in terms of counting, estimating/predicting, and using mental math. The students were engaged and used lots of language to show their thinking.
- It was clear that the students are still independently counting by 1’s. When we initially counted how many seeds were in a handful, Ziv counted by 1’s. She got an answer of 106. I asked how we could check her answer and Sipan suggested we re-count (by 1’s). I suggested we make groups of 10. They applied this strategy when they counted the small pumpkin’s seeds.
- The students are not using division to problem solve. In the final step of the problem, they needed teacher support to answer the original question. They used multiplication.
- They can count by 10’s with visual support (the numbers written linearly on the whiteboard).
- They understand and can use the following mathematical academic language: predict, count, plus, time, equals, problem, how many, number, and groups of …,
- The students need support with 30 versus 40.