Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

A Math Station Activity with More than One Answer


“How’s this? Did I get it right?”

Students ask their teachers these two questions quite a bit in the classroom.

If a problem truly is being solved, there very may well be multiple methods, viewpoints and solutions to be considered. There doesn’t have to be only one right answer, and for many students that concept is a difficult thing to understand and even accept.

We all want to be right and assured that we are correct. However, that can be nerve wracking and anxiety ridden, causing people to not take risks, nor that overused expression, “think outside the box.”

Being able to explain and justify one’s thinking can be more important than the one solution that a student believes a teacher seeks. Not to mention, innovation and creativity springing forth, and the influence on other’s approaches and thoughts about a problem.

Where am I going with this?

A few weeks ago, I watched Kara Brem‘s webinar, “Grow Your Math Mindset with Seesaw“, that had a very flexible math activity (15:30 in the webinar link) that I could foresee as an ongoing station: Which One Doesn’t Belong? (Slide 8.)

Essentially, students are given a math puzzle with four numbers or objects in a four-square with the task of explaining which one doesn’t belong. This thinking is captured as writing/labels and/or a recording in Seesaw (or Explain Everything could be used as well) and submitted to the teacher.

These puzzles really encourage and foster 3 out of the 4C’s: Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Have students watch and comment on each other’s submissions, and then collaborate on yet another solution – well, there’s an opportunity for the missing C: Collaboration.

Check out her Seesaw activities, specifically the Which One Doesn’t Belong ones, that you can edit and use with your own students.

Brem’s activity was inspired by this website where you can get even more ideas for the puzzles.

These puzzles could serve as formative assessments for current topics as well as a great way to review concepts while applying to new learning. Possibly, a different puzzle could be offered each month as students rotate stations.

The possibilities could be endless, and that’s exactly what we want to teach our students.

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