I love days when math lessons start with a question or problem for children to solve and figure out. I wish more days were like that...something to work towards in the new year. On this particular day, I handed each student a bag of green paper strips and told them that their math job was to put them in order from shortest to longest. Shortly after my math detectives set off to do their math job, the silence broke and a wave of excitement and discovery took over. "It's a Christmas tree!!!" one little girl exclaimed.
After the discovery was made, I introduced materials that they could use to transform the paper strips into a beautiful Christmas tree. The children adorned their trees with sparkling sequins and a star on the top.
After all of the Christmas trees were assembled and decorated, we left them to dry at our tables while we engaged in "math talk" to discuss the different ways students solved the problem. This was, dare I say it...FUN!
My students were so engaged and facilitating a discussion about how they solved the problem was almost effortless. I am always looking for creative, hands-on experiences that allow students to build their enthusiasm for math. What great math ideas have you tried out lately?