PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 3 Math:What we’ve been up to.

First, a big thank you to all the parents who came into school on Friday to help with our Lunar New Year’s Celebration! On behalf of 301, my thanks to Alyssa, Lily and Pedro, Tania, Lisha, Janet, and Kiran. Thanks as well for the parents who came in for 302, though I didn’t get to see you and thank you. You did a great job teaching our children about the abacus and leading them in making their own! I believe that 302 was able to learn how to use theirs, but in 301, we didn’t yet, so Mike Jung will be coming in on Wednesday afternoon to teach us how. I’d never known how to use one, but the way the abacus relies on place value is actually a valuable reinforcer for our third graders.

In Math, we’ve just wrapped up our exploration of the array model of multiplication and are starting to move into division this week. Multiplication is the shortcut way of taking equal groups and combining them into a whole; division of course is the inverse of this, taking a whole and separating it out into equal groups. There are many different strategies children can employ when they’re first thinking about division. The important thing, as always, is that they use a strategy that makes sense to them – and that over time, they progress to more and more efficient strategies. I was pleased to see that when the students solved an initial problem about seating people at tables, they all had ways of reasoning about finding equal groups, and they were all truly thinking.

Now that everyone is able to reason about equal groups, the time has come that many of you have been waiting for. Yes, it’s time for your child to learn the multiplication facts up through 10 times, if he or she doesn’t already know them! Ms Marcy and I have assessed the children’s knowledge of the facts, and we’ve started working with the children who need the most help learning them. This week some of the children will be bringing home multiplication facts to study, along with instructions for how you can help them learn through reasoning, rather than just by memorizing.

In Social Studies, we’ve been learning about what Culture consists of, and how it varies around the world.

There will be a World Map assessment  next Monday, February 13th. In order to meet expectations (earn a 3), students will need to be able to label the Equator, the 7 continents, the oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic) and the Mediterranean Sea. If students wish to exceed expectations (earn a 4) they will have to label at least 5 additional features (countries, cities, famous rivers and/or mountain ranges – this is a chance to have your children learn to identify places that might be of significance to your family!). GeoGames is a fun way for your child to practice; the children have seen this game in class. There are some videos on YouTube that are also a great way to help commit geography information to memory: the Continents Song, the Continents Rap, and Tour the WorldThis version of Tour the World has photographs of the places the song is naming; it doesn’t show you where each continent is on the Earth, but it gives you a sense of what you might see in each place.

One last reminder: this Tuesday  from 8:30 until 10:00 BSI will be holding a math workshop which will focus on our approach to mathematics and what we value in mathematical work. Advance registration is required; please  click here to register.