For the past three years, I worked with grade 2 as a homeroom PYP teacher. I wanted to share an approach I took to number and the concept of equal groups. We began the year working with skip counting and using skip counting to find patterns in number. Then we began to build on their understandings of partitioning. We looked at how many number combinations we could find with a given number using the number of the day strategies. My goal was to make sure math was always fun, concrete, relevant and challenging. As we moved through addition and subtraction strategies, we continued expanding on number strategies for patterning and partitioning with numbers greater than 50.
Later in the year, we began to inquire into equal groups using multiplication, division and fractions. As we worked with multiplication using arrays, making equal groups with manipulatives and then pictorial drawings, an idea came to me. I began to see how students could learn to move between multiplication, division and fractions through the conceptual lens of equal groups. This idea fascinated me and I began to design learning engagements for using number flexibly. We focused less on traditional algorithms and memorizing math facts and more on thinking about number conceptually. We talked about equal sharing and writing math stories. We continued building on their understandings of fractions of a whole by moving onto fractions of equal groups. Students learned to show equal groups in multiple ways and eventually, we worked with word problems. All of the work we did moving between those three ways of seeing equal groups made the process of learning time and reading a clock fairly simple. They had a clear understanding of skip counting and fractions by then which made reading a clock and understanding how it worked a straightforward process.
Click here to download my Equal Groups Pack.
As an international educator, I work with colleagues in my local and global network regularly to implement inquiry through concept-based approaches to learning and teaching. It is a journey of discovery, learning and growing our own understandings about the ways children learn.
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