Day 21: The One Where Multiplication Beats Addition

Today was the first day we looked at linear equations as a class. Curriculum partner and I set it up as a station rotation where students looked at an equation and another representation (table, graph or figures) and then had to make additional representations. Didn’t get them quite as far as we wanted (trying to balance taking time at each station versus seeing a variety of equations), but we’ll be looking at linear equations in our third unit, so we have time.

Photo: Multiplication beats Addition
Multiplication beats Addition

The kiddos had to figure out how many squares were in Figures 25 and 43. Some students still insist on adding the numbers until they get to the 25th or 43rd figure. In a (rare) fortunately-timed teacher move, I watched one student (who was largely absent last year but has turned it around this year) repeatedly add 2 to the number of squares in the 4th figure, aiming to get to the number of squares in the 30th figure. I waited until they got to the 20th calculation and then wrote the multiplication problem on the other side of the paper. “Yeah, I guess we should have used multiplication,” they admitted once they saw the answer.

Side note #1: Curriculum partner likes to talk about how lazy math teachers are. Multiplication is definitely easier than addition.

Side note #2: we’re preparing for assessments for the end of our first unit: group quiz tomorrow (graded on participation with an eye to having students practice for the individual quiz), written reflection on Thursday and individual quiz on Friday. Any guesses as to the average student grade?


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