PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 5 and 6 Math December

Grade 5:  

Thank you to the families that joined us last week to play Coordinate Plane Battleship.  This is a great game to play so that students can get used to reading and plotting points. There will be a short quiz on this on Wednesday. Students will see this again at the end of the year when we are looking at graphing.  

Today, we had a pre assessment (not graded) on decimals. This will be used for planning the next unit, Place Value and Decimals. This unit of study will focus on the powers of 10 demonstrating that our number system is multiplicative rather than additive.  Next, we will use place value understanding to work with decimals. This work will continue through much of January.


Grade 6:

There is a lot going on in grade 6 right now! STEM Mondays have been so engaging.  Students are problem solving and applying math by constructing a marble run with a specific goal, coding a mouse to overcome an obstacle they have created, or solving an interesting problem that they have found or created. In a week, students will present on their process and learning from this project to their peers.

We are in the middle of our Number System Unit. We launched with a short inquiry of student created questions about categorizing numbers. Students are exploring negative numbers  through a personal timeline project where the month and year that they were born is the 0. They are choosing events prior to and after their birth that they find significant to them. Not only is the math a challenge, but we are learning a lot about each other.  

Next, we will study the four operations with negative numbers and explore the question “Do our conjectures from elementary school still hold up when we apply them to negative numbers?”. Students should expect a quiz before winter break.  

NOTE:  We are doing another problem of the month right now.  Students had a period of class time to read through and start.  They should work on this to the best of their ability a couple times each week. They can do a small amount a research (for example, look up a word or concept), and can work with other classmates.  If families are interested, they can also work on it together. However, the goal of the problem of the month is to expose students to more advanced math that can be solved in multiple ways. If students seem frustrated, tell them to stop and take a break from it.  Some students will only solve the first couple parts, while others will complete most of it. We will have another day in class to ask questions and discuss their strategies with classmates. Students will turn in what they have done. All I ask is that they explain their thinking so I can better understand how they approached the problem. Remember the ultimate goal is not that they get the right answer, but that they think carefully about what they are asked, think about what they know, and record the thinking they do as they approach these unfamiliar questions.