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George GarzaMemberMay 13, 2019 at 1:43 am
As for not understanding place value, have you seen the exploding dots website? It walks students through how the number system works and, what the basic math operations mean in light of that. It’s accessible enough that even my 5 year old pre-k son can do the activities (which he loves) but the higher level areas are deep enough that I’m confident my sophmores would have been challenged by it, and learned a lot in the process.
The students will engage when the feel they are capable of it and when they feel safe doing so. There’s a lot of stuff on the academy here to help with these parts.
Also, if you aren’t already, try listening to the Making Math Moments Matter Podcast. They spend a lot of time addressing how to implement Problem based classrooms, lots of advice there that can help.