Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 2: Engaging Students Using Problems That Spark Curiosity › Lesson 25: Five Practical Resources to Spark Curious Discussions › Lesson 25: Question & DIscussion
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Lesson 25: Question & DIscussion
Kyle Pearce updated 1 week, 6 days ago 62 Members · 96 Posts 
What is your biggest take away from the How to Start A Math Fight Lesson? What are other resources you use to create discussions in math class?

My biggest takeaway from this lesson 25 is the power of using fostering discussion in a math class. I have used the site looking at graphs using the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/column/whatsgoingoninthisgraph website.
This website fosters a lot of the what do you wonder and what do you notice conversations in class. However, there is not always the math strand focus that I am looking but it does always get students talking about realworld data and trying to unpack and understand what they are seeing. The resources shared certainly address that issue.

I think that idea of getting kids to talk in class without fear of right/wrong gets them used to talking in general so that when you get to the actual topics for the day, they are in the habit of discussing their ideas already. Also, you can tie in content with some of these. Like the headbands activity would be easy to introduce the a,b and c values of a quadratic or using the which one does not belong to discuss graphing linear inequalities.

I like how each resource encourages students not just to come up with an answer but also share their answer with others and explain their reasoning. It seems like discussing their thinking and listening to others is where real learning can happen.

I have used the tools of “estimation180” and “would you rather?” with some success. I tend to pull them out if I am looking for a warmup to get students talking. They are low risk and allow students to practice mathematical justification.
However, the biggest take away I am getting from this is creating the criteria that I am looking for when adopting different classroom tools. I become overwhelmed because I am always reading, hearing, and seeing the next great idea in math. I think the four shared in the video are still what I am looking for, but I never explicitly vocalized or thought about what to look for when incorporating a new concept in my classroom. (Especially the ratio criteria because I am all about working to improve my practice. But is the time and money spent going to create the best results, or is there a more straightforward way?)
I know I got away from the student discussion in math class. But the idea of a math fight is essential because it gives the student the practice to be able to justify and have reason to believe their thinking. I feel each of these tools would be beneficial in supporting this idea.

Scott,
I second your thought on determining what I value in the classroom that create good learning opportunities and yes, the balancing act of time investment for student growth is a constant challenge.
Thanks for the thoughts.


Great take aways here related to the importance of getting students talking, explaining and engaged! Having some clear structure around the different tools you use in your class can also reduce overwhelm when planning.

I have used and will continue to use “Estimation 180”. It interested me that students in my class who were currently lower attaining were also not as competent at estimation. Developing this skill could help transform their confidence in Maths.
I would also like to find the same perimeter different area animation (with sticks) as I haven’t found it yet with some searching. Does anyone know where i can find it?
 This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by Stephen Prince.

Hmm I feel like Iâ€™ve done some stuff like that in the past.
Not quite the same but maybe helpful?
https://tapintoteenminds.com/maximumarea3sidedenclosure/

One of my main takeaways is the Would You Rather. I am working with slope and y intercept and I could see doing something where I have 3 different numbers and students decide if they would rather have number A, B, or C as the slope, the yintercept or the “x” value to get the highest number. Throwing negatives in there could make them think more. I could have manipulatives avaiallbe like algera tiles or just cubes or anything to represent the slope and interept and maybe little cups as the “x” value meaning they have to repeat the slope that many times.
I am also thinking of a game I call Top Number where they click on the Google random number generator set to give numbers between 10 and 10 and they have to think if the highest value would be obtained by adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing (they can estimate for division). It gets them arguing about what subtracting by a negative means and multiplying negatives. For challenges, we in clude fractions, it gets heated when they have to decide between 5/7 and 6/49 which one is bigger. The conversations, the openness of opportunity for rethinking concepts is great.
Thanks for helping me think about this.

Really liking the integers game to get students fluent and flexible with integer operations!


I’ve used both the Would You Rather and the Which one Doesn’t belong structures in my classroom and have loved them. My take away was more ideas to try. I think I can leverage the Math Before Bed to my 6th grade class, and also the Estimation 180. Thanks for sharing these.

I really like the diagram at the end with the teacher directing on the left side versus the students collaborating, while the teacher assesses on the right. The idea of students having math discussions through games and activities and learning to support their thinking is powerful. Another resource I hope to use in the classroom is Esti Mysteries from https://stevewyborney.com.

I have used in the past or am currently using all of the resources mentioned for math talks, creating discussion to start my math lesson. It is usually never focused on the lesson for the day but more planned haphazardly, just wanting my students talking math before we begin the lesson. The discussions often leads to new concepts being explored, an unintended result but often engaging for my students as they want to know more. I find the Math Fight Placemat will be very useful to plan each day and each week with particular goals in mind. I also see it as a way to spiral the math to reinforce math concepts already learned. I look forward to trying Headbanz with my class next (I’ll have to make a trip to the Dollar Store) and when I think my students are ready, Two Truths and a Lie. Thanks again for the Math Before Bed 180 Days resource, Jon.
PS I have also used http://fractiontalks.com/ and plan on using Jo Boaler’s Data Talks

My biggest take away from “How to Start a Math Fight” is that it is really about the quality discourse among ALL students; not just the extroverts or the confident; nor the experienced, nor just those that have attained the level of abstract thinking earlier in their development but every single kid. I have heard it 100 times, that the students who do the talking, do the the learning and here are routines that facilitate thinking, challenging, and reconsidering. This goes along with status in the classroom and the routines and tasks that get every one talking, change the game.
After listening to one of the Math Mentoring podcasts, I am seeing this “How to Start a Math Fight” as a routine that I can readily draw on—with many amazing resources, it does get overwhelming. By focusing on what I value, as mentioned by Jon, to create good learning opportunities, I can narrow the resources by asking, “Do they promote discourse among all learners”.
The resources provided by peers are also thought provoking….fractiontalks.com? Boaler’s Data Talks? New to me!

Sounds like some huge take aways for you here and some new resources to boot! As you mentioned, donâ€™t look at it as overwhelm by trying to fit everything in… use them as places to draw resources from when the timing / need arises!


One take away for me is how, though we “turn and talk” often, using these tools and resources for math fights will elevate the level of discourse as students will have to defend their thinking, which will cause a burst of metacognition in math. It also reinforces our work in NGSS (science) with the ClaimEvidenceReasoning work we’re doing across content areas.
I’m about to move into a role of teaching math to Chinese Immersion students who haven’t yet learned math in English, so I think this level of discourse will help with exposure to math vocabulary as well….it will encourage them to use more precise math terminology in their “arguments”.

So key! For students whose first language is not English, finding opportunities for them to engage in verbal discussion is so important. I love your idea of bringing elements of Math Fights to this context!


I absolutely loved the clip of your girls! My mom and dad “made” us read every night as well – and I am forever grateful. I’m sure it had lots to do with my success in school. Our elementary had a contest “100 Days of Reading” and you got entered for prizes and a pizza party at the end – I just wish there were similar things for Math and Numeracy. Maybe I’ll come up with “100 Days of Puzzles” for next year.

I can’t decide which one I like better: Would you rather? or Math Before Bed? Both could generate great discussion even in 2nd grade. I could use the latter at the end of the day. I already do something like this, but I like the more open discussion.

The beauty is that you donâ€™t have to pick only oneâ€¦ sometimes mixing them up can be really helpful!
