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• # Rebuilding Understanding

Posted by on March 11, 2021 at 10:58 am

So sorry I couldn’t stay for the entire chat last night. My question comes from the challenges I have with 6th graders and ratios. Basically, they don’t understand them on a conceptual basis. This seems true of many other content areas we have taken on this year. So, in general terms, I am struggling with how far back I go in their development of a concept in order to rebuild the foundation. Adding on to the challenge is the fact that not only do they not understand the concept…their current “understanding” is deeply ingrained making any rebuilding even more difficult.

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• ### Kyle Pearce

March 12, 2021 at 6:22 am

Ratios and rates are one of the muddiest areas of mathematics.

Have you checked out the hot chocolate unit? While we focus a lot on multiplication in that unit, we also try to unpack ratio and rate reasoning conceptually. Have a look:

• ### Sean Breen

Member
March 12, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Kyle. I have not tried the hot chocolate unit. I did use the Nana’s chocolatiness and got some totally unanticipated answers. There were a number of kids who got the gist of what was going on, and eventually, came up with 3 pretty elegant ways of solving it. Many of the other students avoided the math in favor of changing the narrative (I’d just throw it out and make a new one.) In the sequel about making eggs, even the ones who had demonstrated some mastery started to fall back on questionable strategies (I would just put 1/4 egg in, or I’d pick the extra flour out.)

I also tried the Sugar Sugar Desmos activity. Maybe it was more about their ability to read graphs than about ratios and unit rates, but hardly anyone was successful. I’ll try your hot-chocolate next, but I really have to be ready for anything at this point.

And percentages are next…

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