Sunday, September 15, 2013

Welcome To Fall!! Cool 3rd grade place value activities

I feel like things are FINALLY falling into place....just in time for FALL!!!

So a few weeks ago, I got an email from my friend/previous co worker Gennifer, and she wanted me to come and do a math training for her staff (she's a principal in a neighboring county in VA, but we used to teach together!) on Math Expressions. Since I'm SO active in our county's math and have taught successfully with Math Expressions, she wanted me to give her staff a quick overview and how to use the program successfully. I met some really cool teachers, and without going into too much detail, I really want to do training for a living now! I love all the technology trainings I do for my school, and this was SO much fun!

On the way to her school, I stopped for a PSL from Starbucks. If your blood type is Starbucks, as mine is - you know that stands for PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!!! PSL is everything fall should be in a tall cup of caffeine! I love love love everything about fall - especially the pumpkin flavored everything. In fact, right now as I blog, I am baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

One of my favorite units to teach this time of year is place value. I'm not sure if it's because it is SO easy to differentiate between my Tier I, II and III students, and my gifted students! My favorite activity, is an AIMS activity called "Clue Me In." Click here to purchase this activity from AIMS.

In this activity, students are given "mystery numbers" to find. Level A starts with 3 digit numbers, and level G and H are 6 digit numbers. The clues use math vocabulary like sum, difference, greater than, less than, and place value all the way to the hundred thousands. The clues were too difficult for my Tier II and III students to complete by themselves, so I set up teams of 4 to complete this activity, just as the directions state you should. I paired my higher level thinkers (1-2 per group) with my lower level students (2-3 per group). I put the lower level students in charge of finding the place values, circling and crossing out numbers. My higher level students were in charge of decoding the clues. It worked BEAUTIFULLY!

I put the recording sheet in a sheet protector, and let students write on it with a dry erase marker. At the end of each clue, or if students needed to start over, the paper easily erased. 

Clues are mixed up. For example, the first clue might say "The digit in the hundreds place and the tens place are the same." The students haven't figured out either digit. We talked about how you would remember to go back and solve this, and students decided they should circle the clues they had to go back to. 

This was HARD for 3rd graders! Look at the "brain stretching" as we call it in our class. This was a group of 5 - with EVERY student engaged, for a total of 45 minutes. Coolest. Activity. Ever. 

I am starting rounding and comparing now, and I am teaching my students the rounding mountains found in math expressions, with a little twist to help. 

You can find that poster on my TpT store. I will post some cool lessons on rounding next week! It's time to bake some more of those delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. (If you want the recipe go HERE


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