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Topic: Number Sense and Computational Fluency
Replies: 92   Last Post: Jul 24, 2008 5:09 AM

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Cynthia Garland-Dore

Posts: 68
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Division
Posted: Mar 10, 2001 6:35 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Mary Jane:

I will check with the TERC staff to get an official reply.

It is difficult to find a balance between discovery and focusing in to
fluent and efficient approaches. The goal of course is not to see how
many ways we can solve the problems, but to develop a few very
efficient ways to think about division. I think the expectations are
very different at each grade level.

I've been working quite a bit lately with division and multiplication
in 4th and 5th grade classrooms. I am very pleased with how the
students are developing their understandings and strategies to solve
the problems. We spend quite a bit of time sharing ways to solve one
or two problems. The kids can't wait to share their strategies at the
board. We discuss how their ways are similar and different. I ask
students at the end if they observed a way they'd like to try on
another problem. It seems through this process the classes are really
settling in over a few very efficient ways to divide.

I think students are developing their own personal efficient
algorithms through their experiences. Will they ever use the
traditional algorithm? That's not an end goal I have for the
students. I want them to be comfortable with a variety of efficient
ways to solve a computation problem. I want them to think about the
numbers in the problems they are solving and make good decisions about
the best way to solve the problem.

I just finished working with a group of grades 3-5 parents. They were
very impressed with how their students were looking at multiplication
and division. Their major concern being able to help their children
work at home without imposing their ways. We worked with a number of
problems and practiced some of their students procedures.

I think you'll find the following article to be helpful.

Developing Computational Fluency with Whole Numbers in the Elementary
Grades by Susan Jo Russell

http://www.terc.edu/investigations/relevant/html/CompFluency.html
This article appeared in the New England Math Journal and Teaching
Children Mathematics (11/00).

I'll get back to you about the revision.

Cynthia




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